National AML/CFT Committee welcomes enactment of two key legislations
March 07, 2020
The National Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Committee (NAC) welcomes the enactment of the Seychelles new AML/CFT Act 2020 and Beneficial Ownership (BO) Act 2020.
The President of the Republic, Mr Danny Faure, assented to the two pieces of legislation on Thursday 5th March 2020, after the National Assembly considered and gave approval to the two bills on Wednesday 4th March 2020.
The new AML/CFT Act is replacing the AML Act, 2006 and provides for:
- The establishment in law of the NAC;
- The transition of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to an administrative model with renewed focus on receipt, analysis and dissemination of relevant information;
- Sectoral Supervisory approach: the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) and Financial Services Authority (FSA) to supervise institutions under their regulatory purview and the FIU to supervise DNFBPS (Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions) and high-risk NPOs (Non-Profit Organisations);
- The provision of dissuasive and proportionate sanctions for non-compliance;
- The provision of investigative powers to the relevant law enforcement authorities;
- And the establishment of an Asset Recovery Fund to be managed by the Ministry responsible for Finance.
The new Beneficial Ownership law will ensure identification and verification of beneficial ownership information of legal persons and legal arrangements, extending to domestic as well as international companies registered in Seychelles, trusts, associations and foundations among others. The law includes provisions for the establishment of an up to date register of beneficial owners, as well as a secured and centralised Seychelles Beneficial Ownership database maintained by the FIU. Seychelles views this step as a proactive response to deterring and preventing the misuse of corporate vehicles.
The enactment of these two key pieces of legislations demonstrates efforts to address deficiencies identified in the country’s legal framework through the 2017 National Risk Assessment (NRA) and the 2018 Mutual Evaluation Report (MER).
The implementation of the AML/CFT and BO laws will assist to promote transparency and better align the country’s legal framework with international standards by introducing new measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. Additionally, the laws will also help address threats to the integrity of the financial system as well as reputational risks and help counter other threats, such as corruption and tax crimes. In addition, the NAC will undertake programs to create awareness of the provisions of the legislations among the relevant stakeholders and the general public.
Moving toward improved ratings
Following the enactment of the two laws, Seychelles is formally submitting a first request for re-rating to the Eastern and Southern Africa’s Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) concerning their most recent MER. This evaluation relates to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations (AML/CFT international standards). This re-rating request will be considered at the ESAAMLG Council of Ministers meeting in September 2020.
Additionally, the NAC has started working on several regulations that will guide the implementation of the two new legislations; and, submit consequential amendments to the National Assembly required for the enactment of the AML/CFT and BO laws. Revision of other laws, the formulation of a national AML strategy and capacity building are some of the other priorities of the NAC before submitting a second re-rating request to ESAAMLG.
The Chairperson of the NAC, Secretary of State for Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning, Mr Patrick Payet has expressed appreciation for the support and commitment of all stakeholders who have offered valuable contributions to the new Acts, including the private sector, World Bank, IMF, US Treasury, European Union and others.
Mr Payet has called for continued commitment of all the relevant parties regarding the next steps, including sustained engagement with local as well as international stakeholders as the country continues to implement necessary reforms and measures to improve its AML/CFT framework, promote effectiveness and comply with global norms.