Over 25 financial cases forwarded to SOCU

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The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has supplied in excess of 25 cases to the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), Head of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Matthew Langevine told reporters on Monday.

As it relates to an update on those cases, he said many were affected by amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering legislation in 2017.

“We have, however, not abandoned those cases, SOCU is still getting legal advice and direction on them,” Langevine said.

The FIU is mandated to receive financial information which it analyses and pass on to SOCU.

Five additional cases have been forwarded to SOCU since the amendment to the legislation which Mr Langevine said, are under active investigation.

There are various challenges encountered by the Unit in carrying out its functions including the timeliness of receiving information from agencies and challenges within the agency, the FIU Head said.

He was at the time responding to questions from the media after signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) to facilitate information sharing.

According to Professor Clive Thomas, Director of SARA, the MoU is needed before the agency can move ahead with filing civil proceedings against individuals since it shows a legal channel through which information is transferred between agencies.

Professor Thomas believes that cooperation will bring more prosecutions given the limited resources at both agencies.

Shortly after stating that “people are thieving every day,” the Head of SARA was asked whether anyone under the current government is under investigation to which he responded in the negative.

However, he disclosed that the Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira and the Transparency Institute of Guyana Incorporated (TIGI) have referred cases to SARA in relation to the US$18M signing bonus received from ExxonMobil and deposited in a private account.

He went on to state that there is a procedure for handling those matters but this will be included in the standard operating procedures for the agency and will then be released.

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