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Investigative agencies must respect confidentiality of customers banking info – Private Sector Commission

Last Updated on Tuesday, 6 September 2016, 16:15 by Denis Chabrol

The headquarters of the Private Sector Commission, Waterloo Street, Georgetown.

The headquarters of the Private Sector Commission, Waterloo Street, Georgetown.

The Private Sector Commission (PSC) on Tuesday backed the Guyana Association of Bankers (GAB) in calling on government’s investigation agencies to ensure that confidential information about customers’ accounts are not disclosed to anyone else including the media.

“The agencies, however, which receive this information, are similarly bound by the confidentiality rules as are the banks and must ensure that these are respected in order to preserve the integrity of the financial system,” the PSC said in a statement.

Repeated efforts to obtain a comment  from GAB’s Head, Eton Chester proved futile. The GAB has a very poor history of speaking with the media.

The PSC said it supported the GAB’s call for banking information to be kept confidential by those who have been authorized by law to obtain such information.

The umbrella business organisation said the amendment of Section 63 of the Financial Institutions Act mandates that account information must be shared with certain agencies but that does not mean that they should be disclosed to other parties. “The sort of debacle in which bank account information recently ended up on the pages of our newspapers must be avoided at all costs,” the PSC added.

In apparent reference to the publication of bank account information of Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of the Presidency, Omar Shariff in the Kaieteur News newspaper, the PSC noted that legislative changes have paved the way for confidentiality to be broken. “The age-old principles on which the banking system is founded have been violated in recent times by a number of laws which allow for customer data to be shared.”

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September 2016