Financial crimes undermine stability, damages reputation of countries – AG

DPI, GUYANA, Monday, January 22, 2018

The Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) facilitated Assessors Training Seminar officially commenced today at the Pegasus Hotel, Kingston, with the aim of equipping participants with the tools and competencies for reviewing the level of effectiveness of a country’s Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime.

Hon. Basil Williams, S.C. Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams, S.C., said the training will provide the necessary skills needed for assessors to not only conduct mutual evaluations but to produce Mutual Evaluation Reports (MERs) commensurate with the expected standards of FATF -styled regulatory body, as part of the AML/CFT and proliferation global network.

“The training is designed to assist you [accessors] when you are conducting an assessment of a country’s compliance with the FATF [ Financial Action Task Force] standards. The training deals with the assessment of both technical compliance and effectiveness which will present an integrated analysis of the extent to which a country is compliant with the FATF standards and how successful it is in maintaining a strong AML/CFT/PF system as required by the FATF recommendations.”

The conduct of mutual evaluations, he noted, is the core function of the CFATF and entails a peer review of a country’s AML/CFT framework with the aim of assessing the framework against the FATF recommendations and the implementation of the immediate outcomes.

In a peer review, each CFATF member is reviewed by other members and provides legal, financial and law enforcement experts that will lead to the report being adopted by the CFATF plenary, therefore, Minister Williams underscored the importance of the assessors developing the techniques required for an objective and concise assessment, since another country’s rating is dependent on this assessment.

He urged that “you [accessors] make the most of the training seminar as you would not only be equipping yourselves to conduct mutual evaluations but to assist your respective governments to prepare for their own evaluations.”

The Attorney General called for collective commitment in the fight against money laundering, terrorism financing, and proliferation financing since these illicit activities not only undermine financial systems but threaten political stability and damage the reputation of countries.

Perry Holloway, US Ambassador.

United States Ambassador to Guyana, Perry Holloway commended Caribbean countries for their efforts aimed at strengthening the deficiencies in their AML/CFT regimes.

It was pointed out that some 75 percent of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries were able to exit the CFTAF follow-up process, which means they must now begin investigating, identifying, prosecuting and convicting those participating in money laundering and terrorist financing.

“You need to identify the vulnerabilities in your financial systems and that your agencies work together domestically and internationally to ensure proper investigations and prosecution of financial crimes,” the Ambassador highlighted.

He underlined that countries must ensure that the rules, regulations, and technology to prevent and detect money laundering and terrorist financing are in place. Supervisors were called on to ensure that they are in compliance with all laws and regulations.

According to Holloway, countries need to demonstrate that they are properly implementing laws and regulations and continuously strengthening them in order to properly investigate and deter financial crimes.

Financial Intelligence Units and other investigating agencies, he stressed, need to be properly funded and equipped so that they can adequately utilise financial intelligence and other relevant information, investigate potential money laundering and proliferation crimes and ensure that this information is made available to prosecutors.

A section of the gathering at the opening ceremony of the CFATF Assessors Training Seminar.

The US Ambassador said the bar needs to be constantly raised as the strategies of the criminals are becoming more sophisticated each day.

Meanwhile, CFATF Executive Director, Dawn Spicer in brief remarks said the job of a mutual evaluation assessor is an important one since it has serious implications for countries being assessed.

“This will be a challenging yet rewarding week as we enable you to extend your current expertise to become mutual evaluation assessors,” she noted.

A total of 53 participants including Financial, Law Enforcement and Legal Experts from Guyana, Canada, Jamaica, Turks and Caicos Islands and Belize will be trained as Assessors during the period January 22-26, 2018.

Participants will be introduced to the use of the FATF Methodology which is used to assess a country’s technical compliance with the FATF Recommendations, and for reviewing the level of effectiveness of a country’s AML/CFT system under the Fourth Round Mutual Evaluations process.

During this fourth round of mutual evaluations, the FATF has adopted complementary approaches for assessing technical compliance with the FATF Recommendations, and for assessing the level of effectiveness of a country’s AML/CFT regime. The training will include exercises on the use of the FATF Methodology for assessing technical compliance with the FATF Recommendations and the effectiveness of AML/CFT systems, and how to conduct the assessment.

It will conclude with a mock evaluation to test participants’ knowledge and understanding of the process of assessing a country’s level of compliance with that of the FATF Recommendations, and the level of effectiveness of their AML/CFT programmes.

 

By: Stacy Carmichael

 

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