National Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Committee holds second meeting
The National Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Committee, has started working towards its objective of strengthening of the country's AML/CFT framework.
This is aimed at ensuring compliance with globally accepted standards for AML/CFT, such that the country's financial system is not used for money laundering and terrorism financing
Following its initial meeting on February 18, 2019, the committee met for a second time on March 5, 2019, at the Ministry of Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning, at Liberty House.
The first two meetings have focussed on highlighting the priorities and tasks to be undertaken by the relevant agencies, through a coordinated approach.
This includes identifying strategies to address issues and implement the recommendations found in Seychelles' second Mutual Evaluation Report adopted in September 2018, following an assessment of the country's AML/CFT framework. The assessment was conducted by the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG). Addressing these issues in a timely manner is of paramount importance, as non-compliance to international AML/CFT standards set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), can negatively impact the country's reputation and financial sector soundness, and ultimately have serious repercussions on the economy.
The members are also preparing for Seychelles' participation in the upcoming ESAAMLG Working Group and Plenary meetings, to be held in Arusha, Tanzania, in April this year. During this gathering, Seychelles will have to demonstrate steps being taken and progress made to address the various deficiencies identified during the assessment of the country's AML/CFT framework.
Given the scope of reforms and capacity building required, technical assistance is being sought from the World Bank and the ESAAMLG, as the country embarks on various projects to strengthen its AML/CFT framework. This will include assisting the relevant regulatory agencies in implementing recommendations of the Mutual Evaluation Report, as well as with the drafting of legislations, including the new Anti-Money Laundering Bill, Proceeds of Crime Bill and Prevention of Terrorism Bill. In addition, the necessary procedures are being undertaken to procure the services of a resident advisor to assist the country. The Cabinet has already approved the proposed work plan, which will span over two years.
It is to be noted that members of the National Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Committee were appointed in February this year, by the Minister for Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning (MFTIEP), Ambassador Maurice Loustau-Lalanne. It has been tasked with assessing the effectiveness of policies and measures to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism; making recommendations to the Minister for legislative, regulatory and policy reforms in respect of anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism; advising the Minister on matters relating to money laundering and the financing of terrorism; as well as promoting co-ordination amongst the relevant institutions and agencies to improve the effectiveness of existing policies in place to combat and deter money laundering and financing of terrorism activities.
The committee is chaired by the Secretary of State for Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning, Mr. Patrick Payet.
The eight other members are: Attorney General - Mr. Frank Ally, Commissioner of Police - Mr. Kishnan Labonte, Governor of the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) - Ms. Caroline Abel, Chief Executive of the Anti-Corruption Commission of Seychelles (ACCS) - Mrs. May De Silva, Chief Executive of the Financial Services Authority (FSA) - Mr. Steve Fanny, Commissioner General of the Seychelles Revenue Commission (SRC) - Mr. Ronald Cafrine, Registrar General - Mrs. Wendy Pierre and Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) - Mr. Richard Rampal.
The committee members are serving a three-year term and currently meeting on a fortnightly basis.
A sub-technical committee comprising of representatives of the MFTIEP, FSA, FIU, ACCS, CBS, AG's office, the Seychelles Police, SRC, office of the Registrar General, the Seychelles Licensing Authority and the Department of Foreign Affairs, has also been set up to work on a new national strategy on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism.
The need for commitment and active engagement of all stakeholders involved in this process have been strongly emphasised.