AG reads riot act to SOCU& FIU -urges preparation for CFATF 4th round of Mutual Evaluation

 

DPI, GUYANA, Friday, April 13, 2018

Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs Basil Williams S.C. called on Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) to improve their performance, specifically their inability to secure convictions.

The Attorney General was this morning addressing stakeholders participating in a briefing on the country’s preparation for the fourth round of mutual evaluation on how compliant its systems are in relation to Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams S.C. addressing the stakeholders.

“We still have serious Money Laundering deficiencies and we have not been able to get a money laundering charge much less a conviction, therefore the FIU and SOCU are put on notice, because they both know how they measure effectiveness and that has to do with convictions and there’s no way we can graduate out of the fourth round without showing convictions,” AG Williams said, addressing the gathering in the Bank of Guyana conference room.

Guyana had been previously blacklisted both by Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) and Financial Action Task Force (FATF) however, with leadership from President David Granger and the Attorney General the country made significant progress in improving its AML/CFT regime and adequately addressed the key AML/CFT deficiencies identified. It was on that basis, that the CFATF Plenary of November 2016 agreed that Guyana be removed from the CFATF ICRG process.

The Attorney General who also functions as the Chairman-in-Office of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force had noted that while significant progress has been made in addressing the deficiencies within the countries’ AML/CFT regime, the fourth round is a critical one. He noted while the third Round of Mutual Evaluation emphasis placed on the legal and regulatory framework, in the fourth round the country’s effectiveness in addressing the deficiencies will be tested.

“We are in the fourth round of mutual evaluation and how we got here is too painful to recount right now. What I can assure you is that if we don’t prepare ourselves and execute, we would be back in the hole as Trinidad is right now,” AG Williams stated.

He further added, “We have to get it right and we don’t have a lot of time, there’s a lot of things to do and therefore you have to know from the outset in your particular niche what you’re required to do.”

The seminar hosted by the Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) National Coordination Committee focused on 40 recommendations and immediate outcomes of the fourth round. Those aspects will be broken down to show the FATF Recommendations and Methodologies; the Requirements and Procedures for CFATF fourth round of mutual evaluations; the Requirements to collect and maintain AMF/CFT data and statistics and also the expectations of the financial investigative agency in the fight against Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism.

Guyana is set to be evaluated in the fourth quarter of 2021.

A section of stakeholders present.

Alicia Williams, Financial Intelligence Unit discusses the procedures for mutual evaluations.

 

By: Stephon Gabriel

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