Incremental changes needed to combat money laundering- expert

first_img…as questions arise over Guyana’s low conviction rateWith Guyana yet to secure a major conviction relating to Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT), a Commonwealth legal expert is issuing a reminder that incremental changes will achieve this end.According to Shadrach Haruna, a legal adviser to the Commonwealth, the organisation is in fact assisting with this process. When asked about Guyana’s lack of convictions and how the secretariat can assist, he pointed to the secretariat’s work on a regional level.“Apart from organising regional training like this, we also do mentoring and placement of investigators and prosecutors. We also bring in experts from other jurisdictions that have the capacity to train the investigators here for four, five weeks. We have achieved that in some countries,” he related on Friday at a media briefing.“So it’s not a huge amount of money, but we’re able to achieve a lot through that process. So we do this type of regional training to ensure we have key people trained here that will go back and transfer that training to the old staff.”Haruna noted that besides that assistance, the secretariat also does a comprehensive review of existing prosecutorial structures. He said that the objective of this assessment is to identify shortfalls in AML/CFT capacity. Once completed, he noted, the secretariat is better able to advise or design assistance accordingly.Raising standardsMeanwhile, Commonwealth Secretary General Baroness Patricia Scotland revealed that there are on-going talks centred on how to raise the prosecutorial standards of commonwealth countries in a unified way.“We are looking at creating toolkits with you tube type how to do this back up so that even if we can’t be there, we can be there virtually,” she said. “What we are talking about at this conference is potentially could we create a commonwealth implementation toolkit.”“This would be a de facto step by step guide for implementation for our investigators, prosecutors and judges. And that’s what we’re talking about right now. So we do not have as much as we like, but I hope we have enough.”ConvictionsRecently, Attorney General Basil Williams had urged law enforcement agencies secure money laundering convictions. At a subsequent press conference, Williams had revealed that Guyana will not exit the fourth round of evaluations by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force 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.“Money launderers should and ought to be convicted,” Williams said. “This is not a question of trumped up charges, because we have been doing a lot of training. The British, for instance, sponsored a two week course for investigators. And we have had on going exercises.”The Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) is one of those law enforcement agencies on the frontlines. But while SOCU had arrested and indeed, questioned several members of the previous administration, its exploits against money launderers are not as well known. Instead, the aforementioned arrests were in relation to the Pradoville land development.Photo saved in May 6 asHarunaCaption- Commonwealth Legal Advisor Shadrach Harunalast_img

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