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Sierra Leone Business: FIU discusses setting and implementing global standards against ML/TF

During the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) workshop at the Atlantic Hotel, Lumley Beach Mr Abdallah Sesay Head of Legal Affairs explained to participants on setting and implementing global standards against Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (ML/TF). Mr Sesay said he looks forward to providing participants with a brief overview of the FATF, its mandate and membership, and its cooperation within the global network of partner international organizations such as the IMF, United Nations and World Bank, among others. He said the FATF is the global standard setter on combatting money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The FATF is an inter-governmental body, which was established in 1989 by the Ministers of its Member jurisdictions. This foundation provides the FATF with a ministerial mandate, meaning that their actions are directly shaped by what their members decide and what their objectives should be. “Three times a year the FATF Plenary brings together member countries, observers and FATF-style regional bodies to carry forward its work plan and to discuss possible new work. Given that we are a task force, we operate under a fixed life-span which requires explicit agreement among Ministers to prolong it.” Mr Sesay averred that the FATF’s role as the standard setter on countering money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation financing has necessitated cooperation with many international organizations, and that is the reason why FIU has br together all financial institutions and insurance companies to come together to deliberate on how to protect Sierra Leone. “We are working with international stakeholders to identify national level vulnerabilities to protect the financial system from abuse. FATF typologies reports are designed to assist relevant stakeholders and countries to identify and respond to money laundering and terrorist financing risks, trends and methods.” Mr Sesay reiterated that the FATF Recommendations are detailed technical standards that cover regulatory, supervisory, law enforcement, and legal issues. ”Our approach to designing the standards is holistic, integrating measures to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation financing into a single set of Recommendations. I strongly believe, and experience has shown, that a single set of Recommendations and requirements is less resource intensive and a more effective approach for both governments and the private sector.” He said in further developing the global network, the FATF will continue to work with the FATF-style regional bodies, the IMF, the World Bank, the United Nations and other bodies. “In terms of achieving its global mandate, the FATF relies on its members as well as the FATF-style regional bodies and observer organisations to establish effective anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing systems. The combined perspectives serve to directly enhance the flexibility and efficiency of our standards and their implementation.” Mr Sesay said the revised standards placed a greater emphasis on transparency and our new assessment methodology provides a tool to assess the extent to which countries are meeting their commitments, including whether their systems are actually working in practice. He called on all to work towards the FATF’s high-level objective which is to protect the domestic and international financial system from money laundering and terrorist financing, thereby ensuring that the integrity of a country’s financial system is strengthened and secured. At the same time, the FATF recognises that countries have diverse legal, administrative and operational frameworks, in addition to different financial systems, and cannot therefore take identical measures to all threats. In this vein, the FATF is pleased to see that Sierra Leone is taking steps towards finalizing the next stage in the AML Directive.

Monday March 04, 2019.