–CFATF initial findings highlight
THE Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) has wrapped up its on-site evaluation of Guyana’s efforts to adhere to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations and Methodology for countering money laundering, terrorist financing, and proliferation financing.
According to a release from the Attorney General’s Chambers, the assessment, which concluded on September 15, 2023, has yielded initial high-level findings that reflect favourably on Guyana’s efforts in combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
The mission’s leader, Avelon Perry, and her team shared their initial findings with the Attorney-General, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, S.C., and the Anti-money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism/Proliferation Financing National Coordination Committee (NCC).
“The initial high-level findings found that Guyana has good coordination for the identification and mitigation of money laundering/terrorist financing risks through the NCC. It also acknowledged the risk assessments Guyana has concluded, including the 2021 National Risk Assessment, and its wide dissemination among stakeholders.
“The support of these actions through the National Policy and Strategy were also examined and found to be acceptable due to the completion of a number of policy items, such as amendments to key AML/CFT related legislation, the legislative creation of the Guyana Compliance Commission and the Real Estate Agents’ Authority, and the codification of the Special Branch Anti-Terrorism Task Force,” the Attorney General’s Chambers said.
Regarding supervisory authorities, the preliminary findings indicated that most of these authorities adopt a risk-based approach and utilise preventive measures. The team also commended the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) for its role in providing guidance to supervisory authorities.
However, the assessment also revealed some areas of concern. There is a need for greater understanding of AML/CFT obligations among Attorneys-at-Law and Accountants, especially considering the recent passage of the Guyana Compliance Commission law.
Additionally, there is a call for a unified approach among law enforcement agencies to combat money laundering more effectively, as delays in case administration might have contributed to the current low conviction rate for money laundering.
In terms of international co-operation, the team found that increased resources are required for the Treaty Office Ministry of Home Affairs to fulfil its functions effectively.
Guyana, however, demonstrated its ability to use formal and informal mechanisms for international co-operation, particularly through regional mechanisms like ARIB-CARIB and the Regional Security System (RSS).
With respect to targetted financial sanctions for terrorism financing and proliferation financing, the assessment acknowledged that the recent 2023 amendments have addressed some technical deficiencies. However, due to the recent passage of the laws, there may be a need to revise internal procedures in their implementation.
“The Assessment Team reminded Guyana that these findings may be changed upon further review of information submitted, which will be further assessed; however, no new measures after 15th September 2023 will be considered,” the chambers said.
The assessment team expressed gratitude to Guyana for its hospitality and informed the NCC that the final discussions regarding the 4th Round Mutual Evaluation of Guyana will take place in May/June 2024 during the CFATF Plenary, to be held in Trinidad and Tobago.
Within six weeks of the completion of the onsite visit, a preliminary Mutual Evaluation report will be sent to Guyana for review and input. After this review and subsequent engagements, a final evaluation report will be prepared and submitted to the plenary.