Guyana’s Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) and its Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to tackle issues such as drug trafficking and money laundering.
According to a press release, the MOU will allow for the exchange of information/ intelligence relating to subjects suspected to be involved in or convicted of committing drug related offences, in a proactive, timely, safe and secure manner.
This formalised arrangement provides the necessary safeguards against the misuse of information shared or exchanged and provides for strict confidentiality of the information exchanged between the agencies.
This arrangement will also allow for parallel investigations to be conducted against subjects suspected to be involved in drug trafficking and money laundering.
Consequently, greater efficiency and effectiveness in our fight against these crimes will produce improved outcomes.
“Our agencies and the nation will therefore be further compliant with their international obligations and standards relating to fighting money laundering and drug trafficking. The challenges and implications that come with non-compliance, including but not limited to blacklisting and de-risking will be further neutralised,” the statement said.
The FIU, established under the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act (the Act) of 2009, is the primary agency responsible for the collection and analysis of financial information and the dissemination of intelligence reports to law enforcement agencies for further investigation of money laundering, terrorist financing and related offences.
Under section 9(4) (n) of the Act, the FIU is vested with the authority, to enter into any agreements or arrangements with domestic government institutions or agencies for sharing and/or exchanging information.
Satisfying the requirements of the Financial Action Task Force Recommendations (FATF) requires that the FIU cooperate and collaborate with all relevant stakeholder agencies and demonstrate effectiveness in sharing its intelligence product with law enforcement agencies and other appropriate authorities.
Effectiveness will be tested based on the quality and usefulness of the FIU’s intelligence product in furthering investigations for effective prosecutions, convictions, confiscation and forfeiture (both criminal, civil or administrative processes) of assets which are derived from illegal activities, including but not limited to drug trafficking.
According to the two agencies, drug trafficking is one of the most common predicate offences of money laundering committed in Guyana.
And, with CANU being one of the key agencies involved in the fight against the trafficking of illicit drugs and psychotropic substances in Guyana, the MOU is seen as a significant and important development in the country’s fight against drug trafficking, money laundering and terrorist financing.