ATTORNEY-General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, S.C., said Thursday that a legislative agenda has been identified to remedy the deficiencies in the current Anti-money Laundering and Combatting the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation Financing system.
He made the observation during the course of a virtual two-day workshop following the completion of Guyana’s second National Risk Assessment (NRA) on Anti-money Laundering and Combatting the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation Financing.
Minister Nandlall acknowledged that this type of risk assessment is especially important with Guyana’s emerging oil-and- gas sector, in that it is critical to ensure that the Anti-money Laundering and Combatting the Financing apparatus is adequate in addressing the risks and threats that Guyana may face.
He said that one of the major undertakings of the government in ensuring the effectiveness of the current system is boosting the country’s prosecutorial capacity, which would improve the effectiveness of investigations, prosecutions and convictions.
The Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) has recently recruited additional staff in the areas of law, forensic audit, accounting and investigations, in aid of this transition.
Further, the government is taking steps to foster improved inter-agency cooperation between SOCU and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), leading to an increase in the conclusion of money laundering-related cases.
The Attorney-General noted that in order to create a well-oiled machinery to protect Guyana’s financial sector, Guyana also has to improve its supervisory framework, as well as its financial and commercial sphere, in order to bring unregulated entities under the sphere of compliance.
World Bank representative, Mr. Klaudijo Stroligo, congratulated Guyana for the methods employed during the NRA, given the challenges faced globally by the COVID-19 pandemic. He also expressed gratitude to the European Union for their financial contribution in funding the World Bank’s participation in the NRA process.
Day One of the workshop consisted of presentations on the money laundering threats faced by Guyana, and also encompassed assessments of the oil-and-gas sector, illegal wildlife trade, terrorism financing, and proliferation financing risks. There was also an assessment of the overall national vulnerability of Guyana in relation to ML/TF risks.