187 money laundering cases pending in courts– AG

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Attorney General Anil Nandlall

In an effort to secure its financial system, the Government is working to tackle money laundering through its law enforcement and financial institutions. Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs on Tuesday evening revealed that a total of 187 cases are pending in the criminal justice system relating to money laundering.

Speaking during his programme ‘Issues in the News’, he related that this update was provided to the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFTAF) at the 58th Plenary and Working Group Meetings held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago from June 2 to June 7, 2024.

“We do not control the speed at which these cases are heard and determined but you cannot fault us for not filing the cases and being in a state of readiness to prosecute,” Nandlall said.

Following recent sanctions instituted by the United States of America against two businessmen Nazar and Azruddin Mohamed, and a former Government official and People’s Progressive Party member, Mae Thomas concerns about risks and consequences to Guyana’s financial system have been raised.

However, the Attorney General assured that those comments are “premature, baseless and opportunistic.”

He noted that at the recent CFATF meeting, one of the platforms upon which Guyana was assessed was the Government’s commitment and that of state entities to ensure its financial system was protected. “There was no evidence whatsoever that there was a lack of such a commitment from Guyana and all of the sectors and we were scored heavily in that regard,” Nandlall said.

The Attorney General referred to several steps taken by the administration since the sanctions were announced including the suspension of the Mohamed’s Cambio licence, accepting the resignation of Thomas and writing letters to the USA seeking clarifications and ways to collaborate.

He also alluded to the seizure of three aircraft, one luxury yacht and a ship involved in drug trafficking while levying charges against those involved.“One can’t fault Guyana for its lack of attempts and its commitment to dealing with organised crime across borders,” the AG added, noting that there is a host of amendments to the extradition treaty pending to bolster international cooperation on related matters.

Even with the US sanctions recently announced, Guyana has successfully defended the favourable ratings garnered by its Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) architecture at the CFATF meeting.

Nandlall said the country “received a clean bill of health” following a rigorous and diligent process.

“As the subject minister with responsible for Guyana’s AML/CFT architecture and by extension its connection to the financial system, I to say to you, we went through the lawful regulatory examination and Guyana came out with flying colours…Meaning our financial system and our AML/CFT architecture does not pose any risk,” he noted.

Present at the CFATF meeting were representatives of the Caribbean member states, CFTAF executives, representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), representatives of the World Bank, Canada, United States, United Kingdom and representatives of the France-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF).