Lifestyle Audit Legislation will strengthen fight against money laundering- AG – Commonwealth implementing standardised system for member countries

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DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Attorney General’s Chambers is open to considering a Lifestyle Audit Legislation to assist in Guyana’s fight against money laundering, terrorist financing and other financial crimes.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams, SC.

Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams made this disclosure recently. A lifestyle audit determines if the lifestyle of a person matches his/her known income stream.

Legal Advisor at the Commonwealth Secretariat Shadrach Haruna said if the legislation is implemented, it will be an effective tool in combatting money laundering and tax evasion. He commented, earlier this month, on the sidelines of the Judges and Prosecutors anti-money laundering workshop.

Legal adviser, Commonwealth, Shadrach Haruna.

AG Williams, while agreeing with Haruna, pointed out that the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) has a similar power to make such an enquiry and latterly the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) has a similar power, which speaks to an “irresistible inference in circumstances where the person is exhibiting enormous wealth when in fact they have no capacity to earn or create such wealth.”

The Lifestyle Audit Legislation was enacted in Canada. It is reportedly successful in curbing money laundering and tax evasion in that jurisdiction.

The Attorney General said while he has not read the legislation, he believes it would assist in the Coalition Administration’s thrust against corruption and proceeds from illicit transactions.

Guyana, which was once blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) under the previous PPP government, is now in its fourth round of mutual evaluation.

The Commonwealth legal adviser said the FATF is looking at the risks in each country and assessing measures implemented to counter them.

Haruna noted that the capacity of the country to counter terrorist financing and other related crimes is measured by how well the law enforcement authorities can investigate and prosecute these cases.

Further, the Commonwealth is working towards a common standard, where members of the Commonwealth follow standardised regulations and modern laws

According to Haruna, “If you are able to put those things in place then your risk has been minimised.”


By: Stacy Carmichael

Photos by Gajuan Jordan.


Editor’s Note: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an intergovernmental organisation founded in 1989 on the initiative of the G7 to develop policies to combat money laundering and terrorism financing. It monitors progress in implementing the FATF Recommendations through mutual evaluations of member countries.

The Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) is an organisation of states and territories of the Caribbean Basin that have agreed to implement common counter-measures against money laundering. CFATF has associate status within the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).