Guyana has successfully completed its second Money Laundering/Terrorist Financing (ML/TF) National Risk Assessment Report as it inches closer to its Fourth Mutual Evaluation by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF).
Attorney General Anil Nandlall made the announcement on Monday.
The Attorney General is also the Chairman of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) and Proliferation Financing National Coordination Committee,
In a statement, he explained that the National Risk Assessment (NRA), which commenced in December, 2019 was conducted in accordance with the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) Recommendation, which mandates countries to continuously identify, assess, and understand their Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing risks, while simultaneously taking requisite action to mitigate the identified risks, using a risk-based approach.
The assessment, the second of its kind in six years, was conducted by a Working Group of over 70 persons representing over 40 public and private sector agencies in Guyana.
“Notwithstanding numerous challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic the Working Group concluded the exercise in June 2021,” the Attorney General reported while adding that the World Bank provided guidance and support throughout the process.
The results of the exercise, he said, are detailed within the NRA Report and an accompanying Risk Based Action Plan, which contains over one hundred recommendations to be implemented by various agencies. It was noted that the documents have already been shared with key AML/CFT stakeholder agencies locally, to commence the implementation of the Action Plan.
“In conducting the exercise, the Working Group assessed and identified the country’s ML/TF threats and vulnerabilities. This included the identification of weaknesses and gaps in Guyana’s ability to effectively deal with the existing Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing vulnerabilities and threats,” he further explained.
The money laundering vulnerabilities faced by 20 sectors that are considered as possessing higher than normal risk for Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing locally were closely examined. These sectors included the banks, insurance companies and brokers, money transfer agencies, cambios, securities businesses, attorneys-at-law, and accountants among others.
Money Laundering risks associated with Guyana’s emerging Oil and Gas Sector were also assessed by the Working Group.
The development of a National Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Policy and Strategy and additional amendments to the AML/CFT Act were among recommendations put forward by the Working Group.
According to the Attorney General, the policy has already been drafted and it is the hope of the National Coordination Committee that it will be finalized with technical support from the World Bank by November 30, 2022.
He was keen on noting that the proposed amendments were incorporated in the AML/CFT Amendment Act, which was assented to by President Ali on August 11, 2022.
The Attorney General said the Government will continue to support the country in its efforts to combat financial crimes including money laundering and terrorism financing as it prepares for its Fourth Round Mutual Evaluation by the CFATF in the third quarter of 2023.