Updated Money Laundering Bill to allow for forfeiting of assets, proceeds of crime
In its bid to strengthen its fight against anti-money laundering and financial crimes, the Government will be moving to implement a “slew” of amendments which will allow for the forfeit of offenders assets as well as the proceeds of the crime.
This, according to Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall is catered for in the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) Bill 2023, which is slated to be presented to the National Assembly soon.
“…It is recognised now worldwide that one of the most effective way of dealing with the criminal is to hit him in the pocket or hit them financially and the way to do that is not to convict and sentence but to go after the proceeds of the crime – go after the assets acquired from the criminal conduct. And our law was not strong as it should be in that regard,” Nandlall disclosed on Tuesday during his weekly ‘Issues in the News’ programme.
“…If you are able to dismantle the criminal empire then you dismantle the criminal conduct and that is where our laws are now going and that is the type of enforcement we will have to focus on in the next few years,” the Attorney General stated.
The move, according to Nandlall, is part of Government’s effort to implement outstanding recommendations of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
“…We have constantly update this aspect of our laws to keep up with recommendations that emanate from the Financial Action Task Force and the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force. So this bill is always on the review,” Nandlall said.
Guyana continues to prepare for an onsite evaluation and examination which is to be conducted by the CFT on the country’s financial sector in September.
As such, Nandlall said the final review of the draft bill has been completed and it has to be presented and debated in the National Assembly before the visit.
According to Nandlall, several other pieces of legislation have been prepared, to combat anti money laundering and financial crimes in the country.
This includes, the Guyana Compliance Commission Bill 2023.
“In our AML CFT structure, it has been recognized that there are agencies that have no regulator or supervisor…and it has not been very effective. The system remains weak,” Nandlall said.
The bill, Nandlall said, caters for the establishment of a Compliance Commission.
“…Whenever one cannot find a proper regulator for any given area of economic and financial activity, this compliance commission will act as the regulator and act as the supervisor,” he said.
He added, “that will make us compliance, fully with international standards.”
“So we can’t be faulted for having such an apparatus in our AML CFT framework”.