Police, Customs already have power to arrest citizens, seize cash – Ramjattan

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By Fareeza Haniff

[www.inewsguyana.com]Attorney – at – Law and Leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Khemraj Ramjattan has explained that Guyana’s laws already provide for the police or custom departments to arrest citizens and seize cash in excess of $2M.

This law exists in the same Principal Act of the Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Bill, which the main opposition – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) is proposing to amend.

The APNU is proposing that Senior Police/Customs Officers be provided with the ability to stop and search persons, and if such persons are found with $2M worth of currency or more it can be seized if the police has reasonable suspicion that it is the proceeds of or the subject of money laundering.

However, the government is not in agreement with this. Ramjattan on the other hand, provided members of the media with information contained in the existing Principal Act, which states, “Where a police officer or a customs officer or a person authorized by a Director of Financial Intelligence Unit has reasonable grounds to suspect that any cashes intended to be used for the purpose of terrorism belongs to a terrorist organization or represents property obtained through terrorism, then that police officer of customs officer may seize the cash.”

He explained that what the APNU is seeking to do is amend this very part of the Act to put the power in the hands of a Superintendant, who must have reasonable grounds before they arrest or seize someone’s money.

The AFC Leader also rubbished the claims being made by the Attorney General, Anil Nandlall.

“So what he’s [Nandlall] talking about now, trying to propagandize the thing as if a policeman now could come and take away rice farmers money, quite frankly that is what they can do under this Act [Section 37 of the Principal Act].”

Ramjattan admitted that he has concerns with the proposed amendments by the APNU but noted that it could be “tighten up.”

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