Kaieteur News – What you are about to read from my pen here is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I swear on my parents’ grave the words here are the truth. Here is the truth. I have not been putting deposits into my banking accounts (which also carry the names of my daughter and wife) for a very long time now. “Long time” means several years now.
Why is that so? Because I earn no money the past years to put into the accounts. I get a salary from Kaieteur News and that is what I spend rather than putting it into the accounts because I have to spend it days after I collect it for obvious reasons. Every cent I spent from those accounts came from our savings. I withdrew money to buy my car in October 2019. I did not receive money for the car, then, put it in the bank then, withdrew it. That car money was in the bank for a long, long time. My wife and I worked to put it there. I am not a low risk banking customer. I am a non-risk customer. Why then do I have to witness the annual masturbation of the commercial banks demanding me to provide a ton of documents in keeping with the anti-money laundering act?
Whoever wrote that Bill is a jackass. Money laundering activities involve prodigious sums. Suspicious movement of money in an account involves enormous deposits or small deposits very frequently to cheat the system. An account holder with $10 million that accumulated over 20 years and sees no deposits over a long period of time cannot be a target for investigation. That person is a non-risk customer.
On Wednesday, the Bank of Guyana (BoG) announced changes in the onerous requirements and had in mind low-risk customers. BoG used the tag, “low-risk”. But over 50, 000 bank accounts in this country spanning several institutions are non-risk customers. Low-risk means there is still a risk. But some account holders are pure non-risk customers. There is a crucial distinction between “low-risk” and “non-risk”.
Who are these 50, 000 persons? The list includes retirees, teachers, taxi-drivers, mini-bus drivers, soldiers, police personnel, private security guards, vendors, public servants, public sector employees, nurses, cashiers, municipal employees, mechanics, state employed professionals like academics, engineers, medical doctors, pharmacists, labourers, sugar workers, small farmers, journalists, etc.
These people have accounts in the banks but on investigating these savings, officials will see that they exist outside the anti-money laundering tentacles. The amounts are modest. Movements in these savings involve small deposits and small withdrawals. Visit any ATM in Georgetown, East Coast and East Bank Demerara on a Friday afternoon in Georgetown and you will see what a non-risk customer is.
These are people who take out very small amounts during the month and when they get their monthly pay cheque, they make a deposit. These are not the people the anti-money laundering legislation was intended for. Read on to see how the commercial banks are devious.
SOCU charged GBTI’s directorate and the top of the administrative hierarchy with money-laundering which GBTI won when Magistrate Mc Lennon dismissed the charges. What came out of certain aspects of that case was intriguing. After failing to produce documents required by SOCU, GBTI was slapped with contempt of court charges. During the hearing in the High Court, the bank told the court certain documents could not be found. These are the very institutions that demand all sorts of documents from non-risk customers.
Here is what Dr. Sam Sittlington, then consultant to SOCU said about the anti-money laundering legislation, “It is an obligation of the bank to provide information related to suspicious transaction reports (STRs) suspicions of money laundering, of drug trafficking and they make those reports to the FIU…” Where is commonsense when banks ask customers each year, who have $5 million which was in the bank for several years and their accounts see no suspicious movement, a person with that tiny amount, to produce all types of documents in keeping with the anti-money laundering legislation?
I repeat; whoever drafted that legislation is a jackass. The birth of legislation is always contextual. In an era of drug trafficking, anti-money laundering legislation was inevitable but it has to target specific quarters. It is oppressive to demand the holders of accounts with small amounts to produce a ton of documents when those accounts are virtually harmless. The banks write very small income earners as a requirement of the law asking to see pay-slip. Where is the commonsense? Why the pay slip of a supermarket cashier with $2 million in her account that she put there 10 years ago?
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
Nov 27, 2020Ifill’s all-round work gives Regal Masters 10-Wkt win W/Dem Mavericks remain unbeaten joined W/ B’ce & Jai Hind in play offs An outstanding all-round performance from Anthony Ifill, who...
Nov 27, 2020
Nov 27, 2020
Nov 26, 2020
Nov 26, 2020
Nov 26, 2020
Kaieteur News – Leonard Craig and Michael Carrington are two of the better young people politics has produced. I say... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – Governments in Central America are calling for “Climate Justice” after the... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]