Government institutions start consultations on the strengthening of the Estate Agents and Land Registration framework
August 22, 2019
Thursday 22nd August 2019, VICTORIA, SEYCHELLES: A consultative process has started to review the framework governing the Estate Agents and the Land Registration. This follow concerns raised by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) concerning the increasing number of unlicensed individuals purporting to undertake licensable activities as real estate agents.
The first meeting to start the process, was held on Tuesday 20th August 2019, at Liberty House, led by the Secretary of State for Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning, Mr. Patrick Payet. It was attended by the Principal Secretary for Lands, Mrs. Fanette Albert, and senior officials from the FIU, Attorney General’s Office, Estate Agents Board, Land Registry, Seychelles Licensing Authority, Seychelles Revenue Commission and Anti-Corruption Commission of Seychelles.
The meeting is in line with the objectives of the National Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Committee, also chaired by Mr. Payet; to promote coordination among government institutions and agencies to improve the effectiveness of existing legislations and policies, to combat and deter money laundering and terrorist financing activities, including in the real estate sector.
One of the proposals echoed by the authorities present was the need for a comprehensive review of the legislative framework governing the procedures for land registration, the administrative powers and function of the Estate Agents Board, as well as the activities of real estate agents. The aim is to strengthen the controls in place to mitigate the risks of money laundering by criminals, through the real estate sector. The need for legislative, regulatory and policy reforms in the sector comes at a time when Seychelles is reviewing several legislations to reinforce the country’s AML/CFT framework, in line with the recommendations of the second round of mutual evaluation conducted in 2018.
It is to be noted that Tuesday’s meeting follows the open discussion held earlier this year between relevant government authorities and licensed real estate agents. This was to address growing concerns about unlicensed individuals who are continuously advertising the sale of properties on behalf of third parties without the required AML/CFT control measures, which may result in subjecting the country to increasing threats of money laundering, and undermine the efforts of the authorities to combat money laundering in the country.
There will be similar consultation and engagement among the authorities on proposals to amend the relevant legislations in the coming weeks.