The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the body tasked with the implementation of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML-CFT) legislation will soon become functional, according to Finance Minister Winston Jordan.
In an interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA) today, the Minister explained that, the process of recruiting critical staff to make the unit operational is almost complete.
“It is our hope that the FIU process will be in place, hopefully, by the end of this month or early next month. The application has closed and the committee at parliament has been meeting to do criteria and to look at the list and so on. I am hoping that this process can quickly come to an end and the people will be in place,” Minister Jordan stated.
The FIU existed previously with limited staff capacity, resulting in no one being identified or prosecuted for the crime of money laundering and related activities in Guyana.
Minister Jordan explained that several critical amendments to the AML-CFT legislation have been passed since the Government’s ascension to office. Additionally, the administration is looking to make the FIU an independent body.
He said they are working on putting the FIU on a formal footing, and to have a transparent process where staff recruitment is concerned. “The last head of the FIU was recruited solely by the last Government. The FIU head, deputy head, accountant etc. are positions advertised long ago, and are going to be recruited through a parliamentary process that involves the opposition.”
Government on May 4, 2016 passed the amendments, to the AML-CFT Bill paving the way for Guyana to apply to exit the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) process.
The FIU will now play a critical role in implementing and enforcing components of this legislation. President David Granger is expected to assent to the bill shortly.
The FIU was established as an agency responsible for requesting, receiving and analysing suspicious transaction reports and disseminating intelligence reports and other information relating to money laundering, the proceeds of crime and terrorist financing.