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National Assembly

National Assembly approves bill and motion |26 October 2023

During yesterday’s sitting, the National Assembly considered a bill and a motion, which were both approved by the ruling party.

The first taken in the morning was the amendments to the Prevention of Terrorism (Amendment) Bill, 2023, presented by the internal affairs minister, Errol Fonseka.

When presenting the bill, Minister Fonseka said the amendments have to be made following the last discussions Seychelles had in April and August this year with the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG), a regional body subscribing to global standards to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism and proliferation.

Since an evaluation in September 2018, ESAAMLG had recommended that the country amended many of its existing laws related to terrorism and money-laundering

According to Minister Fonseka, there will be another review in April 2024, to see what has been done to date, to conform to the group’s requirements.

The Prevention of Terrorism Act dates back to 2004 and the Regulations date back to 2015.

“The amendments must be done to maintain Seychelles’ status internationally. It is also important that we revised the law so the definitions align with definitions in the new money-laundering law,” explained the minister.

Nine amendments were proposed. Definitions to be amended included terrorist act, to be separated into act of terrorism and financing of terrorism, as well as the definition of biological weapons and chemical weapons, since ESAAMLG had stated that they did not cover all the definitions required by the Financial Action Task Force.

The other amendments were mostly related to grammar corrections.

Seventeen members of the ruling party voted for the bill. There were no votes against and eight members from the ruling United Seychelles party abstained.

The afternoon session was dominated by discussion on a motion presented by leader of government business, Bernard Georges, which was asking the assembly to ratify an agreement in the form of an exchange of letters between Seychelles and the European Union to facilitate the transfer by a member state of the European Union of persons arrested and detained under its national law of participating, off the coast of Somalia, in violation of the United Nations arms embargo on Somalia or in narcotic drugs trafficking, signed by Seychelles on August 3, 2023.

Minister Fonseka was once again in the house to answer questions related to the agreement. He was accompanied by Commissioner of Prison, Raymond St Ange; director general for regional affairs division at the foreign affairs department, Christian Faure; principal state counsel from the Attorney General’s office, George Thatchet and Sandra Michel, who is the legal advisor at the foreign affairs department.

The house heard that the agreement was initiated following the Operation Atalanta, which was initially to counter piracy at sea but eventually catered for other emerging maritime threats such as drugs and arms trafficking at sea.

In the debate that went on until a little after 6pm, members queried about the agreement and what it entails for Seychelles. The motion was approved by members of the ruling party with 17 members voting for. There were no votes against and nine members of the opposition present abstained.


Patsy Canaya



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