Latest update March 24th, 2023 12:59 AM
Mar 12, 2023 News
Kaieteur News – The National Strategy and Policy to combat money laundering has recommended that a special financial crimes court could beef up the country’s money laundering fight.
The policy and strategy, is a five-year plan that aims to further enhance and improve Guyana’s Anti-Money Laundering/ Countering Financial Terrorism/Financing the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (AML/CFT/PF) regime by addressing the risks identified in second National Risk Assessment (NRA) Report and implement the strategy in conjunction with Guyana’s Risk Based Action Plan.
Guyana is a member of International Financial Action Taskforce (FATF) under which falls the Caribbean Financial Action Taskforce (CFATF) of which the country is a member, and as such, would have to subscribe to set criteria prescribed by the institutions.
The strategy also pointed out that a needs assessment and legal analysis must be conducted to “determine (i) whether a financial court should be established, and (ii) the constitutionality of the establishment of such; this is in addition to specialized training for Judges Magistrates conducting ML/TF and AF matters to ensure justice is effectively served.”
It was explained that such a move, will also serve to assist with the current backlog of cases in the court system and delays in bringing matters to trial.
Additionally, under the new policy, it was also noted that the quality of border control will be enhanced through increased resources including improved technology to monitor real time movements at the borders, as well as adequate training, equipment, and human resources at ports of entry.
The entity will also be tweaking its collection of data to ensure more details in order to ensure adequate monitoring of the progress achieved in terms of the outcome of Guyana’s efforts with regards to investigating and prosecuting AML/CFT crimes.
The new measures being promulgated by the Administration to beef up its AML/CFT/TP fight comes on the heels of the completion of two National Risk Assessments (NRA) that have identified weaknesses.
With this in mind, government said its new policy seeks to ensure that Guyana achieves a high level of compliance with the FATF Standards on combating Money Laundering (ML), Terrorism Financing (TF) and Financing the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (PF); “and to effectively meet the key objectives of Guyana’s AML/CFT system in practice.”
To this end, the National Policy and Strategy provides a guide of the actions required to be undertaken to improve Guyana’s effectiveness in mitigating ML, TF, and PF.
“This National Policy and Strategy is a dynamic document reflecting Guyana’s efforts to combat ML, TF and PF risks and the progress in those endeavours. It will be reviewed every three (3) years to determine whether any amendments may be required to properly satisfy each objective,” it said.
Those identified as part of the process include: The Attorney General’s Chambers, the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Financial Intelligence Unit, the Guyana Police Force, the Guyana Revenue Authority, the Ministries of Natural Resources and Finance and AML/CFT Supervisory.
According to Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, SC “we recognise that we cannot operate in a vacuum, and cooperation is important domestically and internationally, particularly with our regional counterparts where effective and timely information sharing can make a vast difference in the detection and prevention of all crime, more specifically, financial and organised crime.”
The International Financial Action Taskforce (FATF) dictates that for Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism to be effective “countries must have strong operational authorities to bring prosecutions and obtain convictions, as well as to seize and confiscate the proceeds and instrumentalities of crime for the benefit of states and victims.”
As such, the administration has since conceded that, “it is clear, based on Guyana’s risk profile that money laundering investigations need to result in tangible number of prosecutions and convictions.”
To this end, as outlined in the newly adopted National Strategy and Policy combating the scourge, the administration intends to take a number of targeting actions involving the Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU).
In strengthening its capacity, the strategy points to the hiring additional financial investigators and attorneys and this is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Additionally, the Policy aims to ensure that specialized Money Laundering or Terrorism Financing training, as well as asset forfeiture training, is provided for its staff to effectively carry out its mandate.’’
This strategic objective is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
Also outlined as part of the efforts to achieve the strategic objectives outlined, it has recommended the increased use of external experts, such as forensic accountants when there is no such ‘in-house’ expertise available.
Additionally, enhancing the FIU’s access to relevant information and its use of analytical and workflow tools, by the establishment of specialized Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for investigators dealing with ML/TF and PF cases will also be had.
This is to further ensure that “there is integrity and independence of Financial Crime Prosecutors, the Government of Guyana will review remuneration and conditions to attract persons who are competent and experienced, and to ensure the best are hired and undergo continuous training.”
They are being paid while we are being played…your pain is their gain!
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