In the National Assembly |16 December 2021
Amendments to more laws considered, approved
In its deliberations yesterday the National Assembly considered and approved amendments to more laws related to money laundering and terrorism financing.
Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (Second Amendment) Bill, 2021
Vice-President Ahmed Afif, in the absence of Finance, Economic Planning and Trade Minister Naadir Hassan, introduced the Bill to amend the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act for Assembly members’ consideration.
He explained that the main reason for the amendments is to fight money laundering and terrorism financing by addressing loopholes and weaknesses which have been identified in the legal frameworks with regard to measures relating to money laundering and implementation of measures to protect our financial sector form abuse by criminals.
The loopholes and other weaknesses were identified by the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) during its follow-up process following its second evaluation in 2018 of the report Seychelles submitted on progress made on it legal frameworks and their implementation to ensure that all recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) are in place as per the required standards.
VP Afif noted that ESAAMLG has conducted two reviews to assess Seychelles’ weaknesses following the submission of our Mutual Evaluation Report which was adopted in 2018. Following the review carried out in September this year, Seychelles has only 11 remaining weaknesses which it needs to address before making a new submission in order to get a rating probably by the end of January next year.
“Based on our commitment to the different international institutions, Seychelles remains firmly committed to continue improving on its ratings on established standards and to reinforce its legal frameworks to continue fighting money laundering and terrorism financing,” VP Afif noted.
He went on to explain that since its introduction last year the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act has served its functions and brought a lot of benefits and progress to the country but there still remains some challenges that implementing authorities are facing which need to be addressed further to strengthen the law and bring more clarity in the process thus the need for the different amendments.
VP Afif went on to detail the different amendments.
Following a lengthy debate during which Assembly members sought clarification, the series of amendments were approved when the Assembly members voted 31 votes for to approve the amendments.
When he presented the second series of amendments in relation to the IBC Act, VP Afif explained that they are necessary for the Financial Services Authority to reinforce its supervision of the legal obligations of the different legal entities that fall under its responsibility.
“This will help Seychelles improve its access to tax related information and bring it more up to date with international norms and standards,” VP Afif explained before going on to detail the different amendments.
Assembly members voted 26 votes for with one abstention to approve the amendments.
Prevention of Terrorism (Second Amendment) Bill, 2021 – Bill No.66 of 2021
When he presented the amendments to the Prevention of Terrorism Act the Minister for Internal Affairs Errol Fonseka noted that on December 2 this month the cabinet of ministers approved the changes to the above law following an ESAAMLG evaluation process and proposed recommendations.
Minister Fonseka stressed that Seychelles being a member of the ESAAMLG has to honour its obligations and carry out the recommendations otherwise the negative repercussions on Seychelles would be disastrous and these will include banks losing their correspondence banking, there would be impacts on Seychelles importation to name but some. He noted that in their September 2018 evaluation report on Seychelles, ESAAMLG said that the country amended its different laws that are related to terrorism and money laundering.
In order to complete different measures already carried out on the legal frameworks, Seychelles needs to carry out more amendments to the Prevention of Terrorism laws in order to address numerous other weaknesses.
Following lengthy debates during which members sought clarification on different aspects of the amendments, members voted 26 votes for to approve the amendments.
The National Assembly will continue its deliberations on more Bills today.