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US assisting Guyana to enforce financial crime laws; Guyana to join global Financial Intelligence network

Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 July 2022, 15:45 by Denis Chabrol

The United States government said Guyana needed t0 do more to enforce its raft of financial crimes laws, American Ambassador to Guyana Sarah-Ann Lynch told the opening of a workshop to strengthen efforts to forfeit the assets of criminals.

“Guyana has legislation that provides for asset recovery but there is a need to build capacity on how to effectively implement and how to effectively use these laws,” she said.

Ms. Lynch pledged the US’ support to help Guyana build confidence to test legislation through cross-agency oversight and joint accountability as well as confidence to adjudicate asset recovery cases accurately, consistently and withing a reasonable period of time.

Attorney General Anil Nandlall said Guyana’s Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act would be amended to allow for Guyana’s membership of the Egmont Group, a platform that allows the secure exchange of information among Financial Intelligence Units across 137 countries.

The US continues to provide periodic training to the Financial Intelligence Unit, the Guyana Police Force’s Special Organised Crime Unit and review of Guyana’s asset recovery legislation.

The workshop is being held by the the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, in partnership with the United States, Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and the National Center for State Courts (NCSC). The Ambassador explained that the purpose of the workshop was to get an understanding of the law and share regional and international best practices. “This will build expertise in conviction-based and non-conviction based asset recovery right here in Guyana,” she said;

The American envoy said the aim is to strengthen asset recovery to disrupt and hurt criminals, share challenges and best practices. exchange new techniques and ideas and build partnerships and networks  in working together on investigations and prosecutions,

A 2017 Report by Global Financial Integrity, the worldwide business of transnational crime is valued at US$2 trillion annually. The American envoy said the social and economic costs of crime is magnified even further in smaller countries like Guyana. She said such criminal activities distort and harm businesses that play by the rules. “Their efforts do not just enrich themselves. They hurt legitimate business owners and ordinary citizens too,” she said.

Noting that forfeiture takes the profit out of crime and a deterrent, she applauded Guyana’s efforts to fight money laundering.

Participants in the two-day workshop were drawn from the police force, the Financial Intelligence Unit, Guyana Revenue Authority. Customs Ant-Narcotics Unit, Guyana Energy Agency and the Guyana Defence Force.