consultation on the revision of laws to strengthen the legal framework
July 30, 2019
The National Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Committee met with members of the National Assembly, marking the start of a consultation process on the review of legislation to strengthen the AML/CFT legal framework. The meeting was held on Thursday July 18, 2019, at the International Conference Centre.
The presentation provided an overview of money laundering and terrorism financing and the need for Seychelles to adhere to international standards and strengthen its AML/CFT framework. It also provided details of the National Risk Assessment and Mutual Evaluation conducted in Seychelles, their findings and the proposed recommendations to address the identified deficiencies and risks. Implications on both a global scale and domestically, for countries deemed non-compliant to international AML/CFT standards were also discussed.
An important aspect of the meeting was to inform members of the National Assembly on work being done to address the various deficiencies and strengthen the country’s AML/CFT framework. This includes the setting up of the National AML/CFT Committee to ensure more effective coordination among the relevant authorities, as well as the formulation of a three-year national AML/CFT strategy. The strategy contains an integrated action plan and timelines that will guide efforts to address deficiencies identified in the National Risk Assessment and Mutual Evaluation. Capacity building efforts targeting the supervisory and regulatory authorities, intelligence and law enforcement agencies as well as other stakeholders including the judiciary, to improve their capabilities to prevent money laundering and financing of terrorism, as well as investigate and prosecute cases were also highlighted.
The seven National Assembly members present were also briefed on the 17 laws requiring amendments. This will be done in a phased approach, and one of the first legislation, which is expected to be tabled before parliament is the new AML Bill. The Attorney General’s Office is finalising the drafting of the new proposed law, which will incorporate compliant provisions in the current AML Act and Regulations, alongside new provisions. While the Financial Intelligence Unit maintains the responsibility of identifying AML/CFT risks at the national level and coordinate actions to mitigate those risks, the new law will include provisions for sectoral supervision powers particularly for the Central Bank of Seychelles and Financial Services Authority to ensure compliance of entities under their purview.
Members of the National Assembly had the opportunity to seek clarifications, ask questions and put forth their proposals. They enquired about the internal capacity of the relevant agencies to prepare legal documents before these are sent to the Attorney General’s office, highlighted the need for more engagement with the private sector, and earlier involvement of the national assembly members including during the review process of the country’s AML/CFT framework. They also asked about the exact timeline that the various laws being reviewed will be tabled before the assembly, among other clarifications.
The Secretary of State for Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning, Mr Patrick Payet, who chairs the National AML/CFT Committee, thanked the national assembly members present for their engagement, adding that their proposals will be considered as the drafting of the new AML Law is finalised.
There will be similar consultation and engagement with other stakeholders in the coming weeks.