Head of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Matthew Langevine yesterday said that since taking office a year ago, 25 intelligence reports have been submitted to the Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU), the entity’s investigative arm.
Langevine who was responding to questions from reporters following a signing ceremony with the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA), said that an amendment to the anti-money laundering legislation had affected the unit’s review of many cases.
“There was a problem where an amendment to the legislation was required because the statute had made provisions for the cases to be tried summarily so it would have had to be completed within six months of the investigation”, he said.
“We have however not abandoned those cases ..SOCU has not abandoned those cases. They are still getting legal advice and direction on them but we have continued to provide intelligence reports since that amendment which was completed in September last year”.
Langevine told reporters that since the amendment, in excess of five new cases have been reported to SOCU. He said that based on his knowledge those matters are under continuous investigations.
He added that among the challenges being encountered by the FIU is the timeliness of receiving information from reporting entities when it is requested. “I think it is a work in progress and we also have our limitation with resources within the FIU but I don’t like to see that as something to prohibit us from doing our work. We continue to work”, he said adding that even if the unit doesn’t have all the information, if it comes, it is shared with SOCU. “I know they have been having some new resources made available to them so we are hoping that going forward we will see a lot more progress in moving the cases forward.
At the moment FIU is getting full cooperation from all the local commercial banks, he said.