…US urges speedy passage of pending legislation
While Guyana is neither an important regional nor an offshore financial centre, nor does it have any free-trade zones, money laundering is perceived as a serious problem, and has been linked to trafficking in drugs (principally cocaine) and firearms, as well as to corruption and fraud.
This is according to a 2009 country report on Guyana prepared by the United States State Department.
According to that report, Guyana has a large informal economy that is vulnerable to money laundering, and the Government of Guyana (GOG) made no arrests or prosecutions for money laundering in 2008.
“Guyana currently has inadequate legal and enforcement mechanisms to combat money laundering, lacks enabling legislation to combat terrorist financing, and its financial intelligence unit (FIU) does not meet the membership requirements to join the Egmont Group.”
The 2007 US Drug Report on Guyana noted that Guyana is neither an important regional nor offshore financial centre, nor does it have any free-trade zones.
The scale of money laundering is thought to be large relative to the size of the economy, with some experts estimating that the informal economy is 40 to 60 percent of the size of the formal sector.
The report said that investigating and prosecuting money-laundering cases is not a priority for law enforcement in Guyana.
According to the report, the lack of adequate legislation and resources has resulted in the Government of Guyana making no arrests or prosecutions for money laundering in 2006.
The US Government in its report noted that the Government of Guyana should pass the draft legislation on money laundering and terrorist financing that is currently before the Parliament.
It was pointed out that the enactment of the legislation would extend preventive measures to a wider range of reporting entities, including casinos and designated non-financial businesses and professions.
The draft legislation would also provide greater resources and critical autonomy for the FIU, enable the FIU to access law-enforcement data, and ensure that the FIU has the operational capacity to meet the membership requirements of the Egmont Group.
The Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Bill was sent to the Special Select Committee more than a year ago.
The US report comes in wake of the Central Bank of Guyana’s revelation that at present it is unable to detect dirty money – money that has been earned through illegal means and has been subsequently laundered.
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