Suriname at risk of money-laundering blacklisting
(de Ware Tijd) PARAMARIBO – Suriname runs the risk of being blacklisted if by August it still has failed to take some crucial measures to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Existing legislation will have to be amended, while new laws are necessary. The government, in the meantime, has committed itself to the task of taking necessary action and putting its policy in line with that of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF). Justice Minister Martin Misiedjan, aided by Sollicitor General Roy Baidjnath-Panday and CFTAF chair Cherno Jallow provided this information to de Ware Tijd after an anti-laundering seminar held yesterday. Baidjnath-Panday says that so far Suriname has implemented only one of 16 crucial recommendations completely, six have been dealt with partly or are still in process while the remaining nine have not even been studied yet. Legislation that would criminalize financing terrorism, regulations for the non-financial service sector, supervision and rules and regulations for car sales, jewelers, and the gambling sector and dealing in real estate is still missing. The law should also force accessories to crimes to keep data on unusual transactions on the books longer than 7 years. Suriname scores well in the field of lending assistance in foreign legal requests because so far all requests have been honored. However, when it come to exchanging data on unusual transaction Suriname complies poorly, says Baidjnath-Panday, who also heads the anti-laundering commission. The official announced that the government is serious about removing all bottlenecks by August this year. CFATF executive Jallow, is happy to see that Suriname complies completely with the regional laundering watchdog to meet all requirements. So far talks with the government and other government institutions have been fruitful, so Jallow is convinced that Suriname will do its utmost to implement all recommendations. There will be an evaluation in August and if Suriname has failed to implement the recommendations and caused cooperation with CFATF to stiffen, the organization will launch a public statement rebuking Suriname. It will then also broadcast an international warning that Suriname does not comply with international requirements in the fight against laundering and financing terrorism. ‘This will undoubtedly have consequences,’ says Jallow. Investors might turn away, while the country’s image internationally could be harmed seriously. Baidjnath-Panday hopes it does not come to that. The authorities have signaled that they will do everything in their power to get their part of the work done. It involves a coherent number of measures and actions. In addition to the Central Bank, which will assist in drafting new legislation or amending existing laws, the Council of Ministers, State Council and Parliament have a task in bringing about the required legislation. The justice official hopes that Suriname will emerge unscathed from August’s evaluation.