AML Bill awaiting President’s assent

President David Granger
President David Granger

[] – The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Bill that will fully criminalise money laundering and terrorist financing issues and address all the requirements for suspicious transactions is on the desk of President David Granger, awaiting signing.

This is according to Minister of State, Joseph Harmon who noted that “AML/CFT legislations are needed by the banks and ordinary citizens” and these “must not only meet international requirements, but also satisfy all Guyanese, in terms of strong legislations to deal with local issues.”

He explained that “International compliance is just one aspect of this Bill … it also requires many administrative ambits, such as the one taken by the State in the establishing of a Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU).”

This unit is dedicated to investigating suspected financial transactions suggestive of money laundering and financing of terrorism. It is under the Commissioner of Police and has a close relationship to the FIU.

The Bill which was passed on June 26, following its third reading will also cater for reporting, improving international cooperation, and ensuring the freezing and confiscation of all terrorist assets.

An independent ten- member authority will oversee the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and its director, all of whom will be appointed transparently by an Appointive Committee and will then see them going to the National Assembly for ratification and approval. It was also made clear that the FIU’s day to day operations will not be interfered with and the unit’s director and deputy will be free to fulfill their mandates.

The provision to seize money to the value of $10 million and more, anywhere in the country would be based on convincing evidence before any such seizure or detention can be made. Seizures would be done by the FIU or the SOCU.

Government will be meeting the CFATF officials in August and the Act will be examined for compliance. In September the world body, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) will then decide on Guyana’s fate.

Overall, AML/CFT controls, when effectively implemented, mitigate the adverse effects of criminal economic activity and promote integrity and stability in financial markets.

Money laundering activities generate financial flows that involve the diversion of resources away from economically and socially productive uses and these diversions can have negative impacts on the financial sector. [Extracted and modified from GINA]


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