Gov’t strengthening anti-money laundering legislation to comply with CFATF standards

Government is actively putting systems in place to strengthen the country’s Anti-Money Laundering, Countering the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation Financing (AML/CFT/PF) legislation, ahead of Guyana’s evaluation by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) scheduled for September.  

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, SC, said the strengthening of the AML regime will see focus being placed on regulating the real estate industry.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, SC

During his weekly televised programme, ‘Issues in the News’ Tuesday evening, the AG stated that the real estate bill will soon be taken to Parliament, following consideration from a cabinet sub-committee.

“Because of the volume of property sale and rental transactions taking place in Guyana, the industry has been identified as a risk if it is not properly regulated. So, we have commenced work on a Real Estate Agents and Brokers bill. We concluded several rounds of consultation with many important stakeholders, in particular, the real estate agents themselves, because they are the main subjects of the regulatory framework that the bill establishes.”

The bill seeks to establish a code of conduct for real estate agents and brokers, targeting the licensing of realtors, qualifications required, ethical rules governing transactions, disciplinary procedures, as well as the establishment of a governing authority and creates offences for non-compliance, among other issues.

The government has also drafted a Guyana Compliance Commission Bill 2023 to address instances where certain agencies lack regulatory or supervisory bodies.

“In these cases, we have been forced to use agencies that are not really regulatory or supervisory to perform these functions, and it has not been very effective.

“Wherever one cannot find a proper regulator or supervisor for any given area of economic and financial activity, this compliance commission will act as a supervisor. And that will make us compliant fully with CFTAF standards,” the AG noted.

Compliance with these standards is an integral aspect of the administration’s overarching commitment to fostering transparency and accountability.

Meanwhile, in relation to the Anti-Money Laundering, Countering the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation Financing (Amendment) Bill 2023, AG Nandlall underscored that the newest modification significantly strengthens the government’s legislative ability to forfeit assets and proceeds of crime.

“It is recognised now worldwide that one of the most effective ways of dealing with the criminal is to hit them financially, and the way to do that is to not only convict and sentence but to go after the proceeds of the crime,” he explained.

The government has received international assistance in crafting these amendments, from the Regional Security Services (RSS) and the National State Courts of the United States.

Earlier this year, the government published its National Policy and Strategy for Combating Money Laundering, Terrorism Financing, and the Financing of Proliferation.

The policy outlined private-public partnerships and engagements, the establishment of an AML/CFT/PF National Coordination Committee (NCC), and a strategy for greater collaboration among competent authorities, among other measures, in tackling and eradicating financial crimes.

COVID-19 Notice: Due to the pandemic some consular services will be conducted by registered mail until further notice. Learn more