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Financial crimes unit by year end – Luncheon

(GINA) Cabinet on Tuesday approved the creation and operationalisation of a Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) that will be dedicated to the investigation of suspected financial transactions suggestive of money laundering and financing of terrorism. 

Head of the Presidential Secretariat (HPS) Dr. Roger Luncheon told the media of this development today. He added that the unit will be based at Eve Leary, under the supervision of the Commissioner of Police and will collaborate with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).

Dr. Luncheon said SOCU is intended to be Guyana’s response to its treaty obligation to investigate suspicious financial transactions that are related to money laundering and its creation is in response to non-parliamentary recommendations from the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF).  

The HPS said Cabinet’s approval will be used for the recruitment of investigators from suitable members of the Joint Services and the Security sector and it is anticipated that the Unit would be in place before the end of the year.  Funding for its operations has also been approved by Cabinet.

Bilateral and multinational partners have been approached and have shown interest in supporting SOCU, Dr. Luncheon said. “Because of our investigation into suspected financial transactions of money laundering and financing terrorism need to be elevated to suggested norms and standards established by CFATF we recognise the need to resort to support.”

It is the intention to have as soon as possible a professional and competent capacity in Guyana to investigate such offences. 

The HPS explained further that the FIU is tasked with monitoring the financial sector and information compiled will be passed on to SOCU. Investigations will follow to establish whether transactions are indeed money laundering or financing terrorism. If so, prosecution would follow.  

Dr. Luncheon added that the FIU operates without reference to the administration, police or Cabinet and information will be going straight to the SOCU.

Investigators for SOCU will receive training from a trained and skilled foreign investigator, who will act as a partner to the SOCU Head for the next three years.