Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan said yesterday that Government accepts the recommendations from a recently released United States (U.S.) report which highlighted Guyana’s lack of resources to tackle financial crimes linked to corruption, money laundering and drug trafficking.
“We will not dismiss the report. Absolutely not. I am of the view that it is a report that we will have to certainly take into consideration and the recommendations therein we deal with it,” Ramjattan said in an interview with Kaieteur News.
Narcotics trafficking and government corruption are the primary sources of laundered funds, according to the March 2018 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) released by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.
Although the Government has demonstrated a strong political will to combat the trafficking of narcotics in and through the country, the report also found that drug-related corruption is evident in the criminal justice system and other sectors.
According to Ramjattan, head of the National Anti-Narcotics Agency (NANA), Major General (Ret’d) Michael Atherly, is expected to provide a full brief on the report this week to the Public Security Ministry for further action.
“The Ministry of Public Security certainly welcomes scrutiny on what we are doing in Guyana, and generally, I like that securitizing eye to come from international agencies. Almost everything that comes at that international level from the State Department or Transparency International reports and other major organizations, I do support, because the recommendations they make we can use to better equip ourselves for the next year,” Ramjattan stated.
The report cited that common money laundering occurs through fake agreements of sale for precious minerals used to support large cash deposits at financial institutions; cross-border transport of volumes of precious metals small enough to avoid scrutiny by relevant officials and the payment of the relevant taxes and duties; and using middle-aged and elderly couriers for cross-border transport of large sums of U.S. dollars.
As part of the recommendations, the U.S stated that suspicious activity reporting, wire transfers, and customer due diligence regulations should be strengthened and additional resources given to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU).
The report also stated that reporting and investigating entities should improve their inter-agency coordination in the future.
The U.S noted that the APNU+AFC coalition, which took office in May 2015, has expressed a strong willingness to cooperate further with the United States on drug control, extradition, mutual legal assistance, and other international crime issues.
The INCSR stated that the U.S looks forward to tangible progress on investigations, prosecutions, extraditions, security sector capacity enhancement, the engagement of at-risk communities, and enforcement of laws against money laundering and financial crimes. The major limiting factor, according to the U.S, is a lack of resources.
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