Functioning FIU among factors that secured money laundering law extension – AG Nandlall

Last Updated on Saturday, 26 December 2015, 21:02 by GxMedia

(GINA photo)

Attorney General Anil Nandlall

Attorney General Anil Nandlall says Guyana secured the deadline extension to conform to international anti-money laundering standards because of the work it has already done towards that end.

He told the media at a PPP press conference on Monday that the extension for the passage of the now-stalled Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) Bill (AML/CFT) was granted on several grounds.

“They include the satisfactory performance of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) which has come under examinations since November 2011 and certain recommendations were made since then and the Unit has been under scrutiny since then,” Nandlall said.

The opposition has been arguing that the FIU is not fulfilling its mandate since there has been no success in prosecuting money launderers though Guyana has long been identified as a conduit for drugs from South America.

Nandlall said the recommendations included that the FIU make semi-annual reports to the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) which it was doing. The AG added that another prerequisite was the establishment of a supervisory authority for all financial agencies and that those entities submit periodic reports to the FIU which then forwards them to CFATF.

“Also when the high level mission (from CFATF) came to Guyana in March they had requested to meet with a number of government functionaries and every single one of those functionaries that they requested to meet were made available to them,” the AG said.

Nandlall said that they also explained the political composition of Guyana’s parliament and outlined the challenges they faced from that end. Guyana was supposed to have the bill passed by May 27 when the CFATF held its plenary meeting in Nicaragua. But the APNU said it needed more time while the AFC tied its support to the establishment of the Public Procurement Commission and the president’s assent to two opposition bills he had previously ejected. The AML/CFT Bill has been sent to a Special Select Committee.

“What we did was to give an assurance of our commitment to endeavour and to expend our best efforts to ensure it is passed having regard to the fact that the government has a minority in the National Assembly,” said Nandlall, who was part of the Guyana team in Managua.

According to the AG, when all those factors were taken in totality, it was found that Guyana had demonstrated a commitment to have the recommendations and the bill implemented.

Guyana now has up to the November meeting to have the bill passed and the recommendations in place. Failure to do so could open Guyana to sanctions in its financial dealings with other states and financial institutions.