“Clumsy, draconian, undue burden” – Nandlall reacts to AML/CFT amendments

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By Jomo Paul

Former Attorney  General, Anil Nandlall
Former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall

[www.inewsguyana.com] – Former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall has once again raised concerns over some amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Bill 2015 which is scheduled to be laid in the National Assembly on Thursday, June 25.

One of the most contentious amendments in the Bill is where it seeks to limit the amount of cash an individual is allowed to have on his person at any given time to $10M.

In the new Bill, Clause 17 inserts a new section – 37A in the Principal Act to provide that a police officer, a customs officer or a person authorised by the Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit may seize and detain cash anywhere in Guyana where the amount is more than ten million dollars.

It also stated that this is done when authorities have reasonable grounds for suspecting, for instance, that the currency is derived from a serious offence or is involved in money laundering or terrorist financing.

At the moment, by law, a person is only allowed to have $2M on his person; however this stipulation is widely ignored. Nandlall told iNews on Wednesday, June 23 that the amendment places upon the citizenry an undue burden of establishing that their money is not the proceeds of money laundering or crime.

“In fact what it does, it presumptively concludes that any amount of ten million and more, found in possession of a person is the proceeds of money laundering and crime,” said the Former Attorney General.

He also pointed out that the amendment would have some effects on the cash flow, noting that Guyana is primarily a cash based economy, with a small amount of persons opting to use debit and credit cards instead of liquid cash.

“The situation is compounded when one takes into account the wide definition of cash in the bill. Cash is defined to included money, jewellery, cheques and other bills of exchange…I am aware that the business community as well as the ordinary Guyanese citizen are opposed to that provision being put in the law. The people told us that they do not wish to vest that kind of power in police officers or any agency. This will drive another nail in the coffin of the economy of Guyana – business will now report not to have capital – liquidity will now become even scarcer with this requirement,” Nandlall told iNews.

He pointed out also that the amendment is not recommended by neither the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) or the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) questioning “what is the rationale for including such a draconian measure in our laws especially since Guyana is a cash based economy where ten million dollars is not an unusual amount of cash for persons to carry around?”

Expanding further on his stance against the amendment, Nandlall suggested that the amendment was initially made because the A Partnership For National Unity (APNU) did not want to support the then People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) administration Bill.

“It was inserted in the first place because they did not want to support the PPP/C administration Bill…so they came up with this very clumsy proposal. Their ego now prevents them from rescinding from their position but it is simply not good for Guyana,” he stated adding “a person must be allowed to have any amount of cash and he must not be subject to any form of harassment. He must not have to prove anything. The mere possession of $10M cannot subject a person to a criminal investigation…because it is not a crime to possess money. It is a crime to possess money that is the proceeds of crime.”

Concerns were also raised with respect to the traceability and recovering of the cash that is seized by the authorities if it ever comes to that.

“When that money is lodged in the police station who will guarantee its safety? Where will it go? Is it going to stay in the police station, how long will it stay in the police station? How long will it take for the person to get back his money?” questioned Nandlall.

However it should be noted that the Principal Act of 2009 states that the monies seized can only be confiscated for three days unless otherwise ordered by a High Court Judge.

The Principal Act also defines cash as coins and notes in any currency, postal orders, traveller’s cheques banker’s drafts, bearer bonds, or bearer shares.

9 COMMENTS

  1. A stupid and backward legislation being debated by Guyanese of eyeblindness. Oh, so you all don’t know what is eyeblindness? It is when Guyanese have perfectly functional eyes but they veil their mind from seeing issues with integral rationale.

  2. Why is the “Chattree Boy” so concerned about the new amendements? For those of you who don’t remember, G$s are like desert sand in the streets and you know who have them, the” Chattree” clique, that explains why he has to take this stand. No more protection for illegal monies; no more protection for stolen gov’t funds and more importantly also, it’s a path to begin the investigation of the wealth acquired by PPP/C inner circle. The “Chattree” may well be advised that he should apply the 1st law of life, that is SELF PRESERVATION, save yourself and let the others go to where they truly belong……Camp house

  3. This is an important bill which should of being implemented a long time ago, it would of saved a lot of businessmen lives, Guyanese businesmen has to move into the 21st century, business transactions should be done in a chashier’s check basis, workers salaries and wages should be paid by cashiers checks drawn 1 day prior to payday from the bank, this assures the workers that their money is in the bank.

    nandlall is an idiot, they do not care what happens to the everyday businessman who is killed by the bandits who stalk them from the banks, all he is concernd with is his pppc agenda which is to discredit the new Government.

  4. Anil it is not a crime to possess money ,but it is a crime to launder money. Add it to that the bill says that it has to be more than 10 .m who are who trying to protect.?

  5. Why don’t you folks find yourself in Parliament to make healthy and debatable contributions that will set the stage for beneficial decisions for all Guyana.

  6. Nandlall, if you and the other PPP/C leasers have something to say, return to parliament and state your case; shouting from the outside is ridiculous! The problem with the PPP/C, you did not like accountability and transparency and that became your downfall. Now that you are not holding the money bag or have the keys to the treasury you have all kinds of suggestions and opinions. It is time to move the country to a more modern system of money transaction, instead of having people walk around with wads of cash on their person.
    It is also time for you opposition to start working. How long do you plan to sit on your laurels?

  7. AGREED! 10 million dollars is is a lot of money for any individual to be carrying at any one time. Understandably, there is cause for concern, and there has to be security measures to protect any and all ceased funds. However, unless that individual is a business person in possession of the days receipts of his business, any one carrying more than 10 million and cannot give an account or reason for possessing said amount, should indeed be deemed suspicious. AGREED! Mr. Nandlall, you’ve turned a blind eye and ear to so much corruption, you cannot rationalize something legal that may actually work……

  8. Hey, Anil. Once you don`t like it I know the Bill has to be good and it would most decidedly serve the purpose of confronting the rascals, like you know who!

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