A nominee to head the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has been identified and will be voted on at the next sitting of the National Assembly.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams, made the disclosure at a press conference held in the Attorney General Chambers earlier today.
“Interviews of the applicants for a Deputy Director have also been concluded, and the process continues for the Attorney-at-Law and an Accountant…the AMLCFT Authority is also being addressed,” Williams explained.
The previous director of the FIU – Paul Geer’s contract came to an end in 2015 and was not renewed.
Upon assuming office, the current administration inherited an FIU with two operatives; a director and a legal adviser.
Before being amended in 2015, Section 8 of the AML/CFT Act of 2009, provided for the appointment of a director for the agency to be made by the Minister of Finance and that person could only be removed from office by the President of Guyana.
“APNU + AFC while in opposition, recognising that the Director was a virtual one man FIU and had no security of tenure, proposed recommendations to build the capacity of the FIU and provide security of tenure for a Director, Deputy Director, Attorney-at-Law and Accountant” Williams explained.
Section 5 of the AML/CFT (Amendment) Act of 2015, amends Section 8 of the 2009 Act to provide for the aforementioned four officers of the FIU to be appointed by a simple majority of the National Assembly. This would be done on the recommendation of the Parliamentary Committee on Appointments, and the same process must obtain for the officers to be removed.
“Provision was also made in Section 6 of the said Act to amend Section 9 of the AMLCFT 2009 to provide for a Committee of Management comprising of the said four officers and managers of the FIU,” the Attorney General further explained.
Further, provisions were made for the appointment by the Director, of personnel trained in Financial Investigation and other employees considered necessary.
“The work of the FIU is continuing amidst the capacity building process and the contention that it is headless and dysfunctional is spurious…It is difficult to see CFATF or FATF sanctioning Guyana because the new government is recognising the FIU in the interests of transparency and accountability” Williams said.