Bill seeking to strengthen state’s ability to forfeit assets of convicted criminals to be sent to National Assembly soon -AG Nandlall

Bill seeking to strengthen state’s ability to forfeit assets of convicted criminals to be sent to National Assembly soon  -AG Nandlall

As Guyana inches closer to its Fourth Mutual Evaluation by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), the Government is moving to further amend the country’s Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Legislation, to strengthen the State’s ability to forfeit the assets of criminals as well as the proceeds of crime.

The Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, while speaking on his weekly televised programme ‘Issues In the News,’ said the amendments are based on a review of the existing legislation, and recommendations made by CFATF.

“In these sets of amendments, we have strengthened tremendously our capabilities legislatively to forfeit assets and proceeds of crime. It is recognized worldwide that one of the most effective ways of dealing with the criminal is to hit him in the pocket or hit them financially, and the way to do that is not only to convict and sentence but to go after the proceeds of the crime, go after the assets acquired from the criminal conduct. Our law was not strong as it should be in that regard,” the Attorney General explained.

The Government, in crafting the amendments, received regional and international help from the regional security services of the Caribbean and the National State Courts of the United States.

The amendments, the Attorney General said, have been finalized and will be taken to the National Assembly for consideration soon. He said it is important to have the new AMLCFT Amendment Act in place before CFATF conducts its onsite visit in September.

Additionally, the Government has drafted a Compliance Commission Bill to pave the way for the establishment of a National Compliance Commission to regulate and supervise a number of unregulated industries.

“Now in our AMLCFT structure, it has been recognized that there are agencies that have no regulator or supervisor to regulate them. We have been forced to use agencies that are not really regulators or supervisors to perform these functions, and it has not been very effective. The system remains weak, so GRA, for example, has been tasked with a number of administrative functions over agencies that GRA does not really regulate, simply because we did not have that regulatory framework in place,” the Attorney General explained.

 The Commission when established will regulate and supervise unregulated industries such as the Auto Sales Industry.

The legislation, the Attorney General said, will bring the country in full compliance with international standards set out by CFATF and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

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