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Govt desperate for convictions

first_imgPressure on SOCU, FIU…conviction’s drought can cause slide in AML/CFT standings review – AG In the wake of urgings from Attorney General Basil Williams that law enforcement agencies secure money laundering convictions; it appears that Guyana is desperate for convictions as the country’s standings as an Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) compliant country depends on this.At a press conference on Saturday, Williams revealed that Guyana will not exit the fourth round of evaluations by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) unless convictions can be secured.FATF/CFATF conducts peer reviews of member countries to assess levels of implementation of their AML/CFT recommendations. These mutual evaluations provide in-depth data and analysis of each country’s system for preventing criminal abuse of the financial system.“The fourth round of mutual evaluations requires us to comply with the 40 recommendations and 11 outcomes of the FATF, in terms of technical compliance and effectiveness,” Williams explained. “We will not exit the fourth round if we fail to show the systems are working.”“So, as in other countries that have undergone (evaluations), failure to have a conviction, prosecution, investigations into money laundering results in them swimming and or drowning in the pool that is in the fourth round.”The Attorney General noted that should this happen to Guyana, correspondent banking relations will be jeopardised due to the banks propensity to pull out based on the financial and regulatory climate.SOCU remitSOCU was established in 2014 on the recommendation of the CFATF and was intended to be a Police unit operating under the authority of the Police Commissioner but with a close relationship to the FIU.When Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan had introduced an amendment to the Guyana Police Force’s Standing Order No 62, it had outlined that SOCU’s responsibilities to investigate outside of terrorism and money laundering were: participation in an organised criminal group and racketeering; trafficking in human beings and migrant smuggling; sexual exploitation, including the sexual exploitation of children.It also has to investigate illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances; illicit arms and ammunition trafficking; corruption and bribery; fraud; counterfeiting and piracy of products; environmental crimes; murder; grievous bodily harm; kidnapping, illegal restraint and hostage taking; robbery or theft; smuggling; extortion; forgery; piracy; insider trading and market manipulation; tax evasion and gold smuggling.While SOCU had arrested and questioned several members of the previous Administration, its exploits against money launderers are not as well known.last_img

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