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Financial crimes bill going back to select committee

The Chamber of the National Assembly

The majority opposition controlled National Assembly is preparing to send back proposed amendments to Guyana’s financial crimes law to a parliamentary select committee.

A Partnership for National Unity’s Shadow Finance Minister, Carl Greenidge has said that he wants the Anti Money Laundering and Countering of Financing Terrorism (Amendments) Bill sent back to a select committee. Similarly, Leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Khemraj Ramjattan wants the bill taken back to the committee to tighten any remaining loopholes.

Attorney General, Anil Nandlall is already on record as saying that there is little more that can be done to the bill because government has made the required changes in close collaboration with the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF).

Ramjattan said his seven-seat party would support the suspension of the House’s rules for the same bill to be reintroduced in the same session of the Assembly. “We are supportive once it goes to the Select Committee but in the meantime too ask that they in the Public Accounts Committee start naming their people so that we can have the establishment and operationalization of the Public Procurement Commission,” he said.

The AFC has tied its support for the AML/CFT to the establishment of the Public Procurement Commission , while APNU wants the Bill to be even further tightened and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) given teeth to go after money launderers and others engaged in financial crimes.

The AFC and APNU have already nominated members to sit on the constitutionally required PPC. But government is not budging unless it gets the opposition’s support for the PPC Act to be amended to ensure that Cabinet can offer its no-objection to the award of contracts for the provision of goods and services.

Currently, Cabinet can object to approved bids and send them back to the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) for review.