Amendment to Anti-Money Laundering Bill passed-fines up to $500M for offending companies – longer period to investigate suspects

DPI, GUYANA, Friday, August 04, 2017

Reading the amendment for a second time, Minister of Legal Affairs Basil Williams said that Bill Number 8 of 2017, seeks to amend chapter 10:11 of the Act. It aims to make money laundering a hybrid offence, he explained, “It can either be indictable or a summary offence.”

It will enable personnel to have more time to prepare their cases if they are complex in nature. Fines of not less than $200M or more $500M for offending body corporates, were part of this new amendment.

Opposition MP Anil Nandlall, adding his opinion, said that he checked the principle act and noted there they were legislating to create an offence against a body corporate. An officer must be identified, either as director or company secretary for the purpose of enforcement, he noted.

Nandlall said he was under the impression that the bill was intended to treat a particular factual situation, that is, not only increasing the period of time for those needed to be held in custody for potential prosecution but applying this retroactively. If it is applied retrospectively, it would be unconstitutional, he stressed.

Minister Williams reminded the House that, “There is no question of retrospectivity”. Since there only existed the principle act when the new government took office. He highlighted that within eight months that changed with the passage of several key amendments, some four within a short time.

Williamsquestioned why a body corporate could not be charged and noted the need for a longer period to conduct extensive investigations by authorities.

The Bill was then commended to the House for passage. It was then read for a third time and passed as amended by the House.

The National Assembly will be in recess until further notice.

 

 

By: Paul Mc Adam

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