Seychelles benefits from the expertise of a resident advisor to undertake reforms to strengthen the country’s AML-CFT framework
October 01, 2019
Tuesday 1st October 2019: A new resident advisor has been appointed to assist the country as part of ongoing efforts to strengthen the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) framework.
Mr Kevin Stephenson has extensive experience in AML/CFT policy and operational matters having worked for several high-profile organisations such as the World Bank, Financial Action Task Force (FATF), United Nations, amongst others. As part of his two-year contract, he will be assisting the local Law Enforcement and Regulatory Agencies as they undertake reforms to address the deficiencies highlighted in the country’s second Mutual Evaluation Report (MER), adopted in September 2018, as well as to build capacity.
Mr Stephenson met with members of the National AML/CFT Committee, which comprises of representatives of the relevant agencies, recently, where he was apprised of the ongoing reforms, particularly with regards to the amendments to various legislations to strengthen the AML/CFT regulatory framework.
Currently, the drafting of a new AML law is being finalised taking into account the inputs received from the relevant institutions and agencies. Thereafter, the proposal shall be put forth to the Government for consideration and policy decision. The National AML/CFT Committee has agreed that the draft bill shall be ready for consultation with stakeholders, which will include Financial Institutions and Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions, by the third week of October. There will also be further consultation with the National Assembly before the bill is submitted to the Cabinet.
The National AML/CFT Committee is currently coordinating the drafting of a new Beneficial Ownership legislation, which provides for the identification of beneficial ownership of legal entities and legal arrangements formed in Seychelles.
Beneficial ownership and transparency of funds are two components, which the National AML/CFT Committee have suggested to improve the regulatory framework surrounding the use of new technologies, including virtual assets. This is aimed at ensuring that the country’s regulations are in line with the FATF recommendations, which calls for jurisdictions to identify, assess, and understand the money laundering and terrorist financing risks emerging from virtual asset activities and the operations of service providers. Countries are also expected to adopt a risk-based approach to ensure that measures being implemented can appropriately address the identified risks to prevent or mitigate money laundering and terrorist financing activities.
Tuesday’s meeting of the National AML/CFT Committee also saw discussions on the need for the country to have an effective asset management system, which would include clear policies, procedures and legislation to govern the seizure and disposal of assets, as well as management of funds derived from the sale of confiscated assets. Members agreed that there should be a national and independent authority to deal with asset management - inclusive of the administrative, civil and criminal aspects. The Committee will also be looking at regional and international best practices, including the most appropriate legal framework, as Seychelles considers the implementation of such a mechanism.