A workshop on Suspicious Transaction Reporting, aimed at enhancing the level of reporting and the diversity in suspicious transaction reports by financial institutions and Designated Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs), was launched, this morning, at La Pirogue Hotel, in Flic-en-Flac.
The event is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Financial Services and Good Governance and the European Union Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism Global Facility (EU Global AML/CFT). The Minister of Financial Services and Good Governance, Mr Mahen Kumar Seeruttun, and the Team Leader of the EU Global AML/CFT Facility project, Mr David Hotte, were present at the opening ceremony. Some 150 representatives of 50 institutions from the public and private sectors are participating in the workshop.
In his address, Minister Seeruttun expressed gratitude for all the support and assistance provided by the EU AML/CFT Global Facility in the implementation of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Action Plan. He emphasised that Mauritius is committed to take actions that are required to address the strategic deficiencies in its AML/CFT system to protect the integrity of its financial system and by extension, the global financial system.
It is Government's responsibility, the Minister stressed, to ensure that the financial services sector continues to prosper in a sustainable manner, contributes to economic development and provides adequate jobs for the Mauritian youth.
In fact, financial institutions as well as the DNFBPs, comprising Compliance Officers and Money Laundering Report Officers, have a very important role to play, he noted. As such, they are called upon as partners, to lead the financial services sector to reach new heights in the country's economic development, he said.
Minister Seeruttun also underpinned the key role played by operators of the private sector in combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Private sector operators, he emphasised, undoubtedly constitute the first line of defense in detecting and reporting money laundering and terrorism financing activities.
Speaking about Mauritius being placed on the List of Jurisdictions under Increased Monitoring by the FATF in February 2020, he underlined that Government has agreed to implement an Action Plan to address strategic deficiencies in the system to combat money laundering and the financing and proliferation of terrorism. Government has given a high-level political commitment to implement the FATF Action Plan and it is delivering and will continue to deliver on its commitment, stated the Minister.
In addition, he highlighted that understanding the money laundering (ML) and terrorist financing (TF) risks is an essential part of developing and implementing a national AML/CFT regime. Thus, enabling countries to prioritise their limited resources and allocate them in an efficient manner, he pointed out.
Mauritius, stated Mr Seeruttun, has completed its first national ML and TF risk assessment exercise and launched the public report in August 2019. The country has also adopted a national AML/CFT Strategy 2019-2022, to guide the implementation of a risk-based approach at national level, he indicated.
Presently, Mauritius is in the process of finalising the ML and TF risk assessments of legal persons and arrangements and completing a review of Non-Profit Organisation sector to identify non-profit organisations which are at risk for TF abuse, said Mr Seeruttun.
Moreover, the Minister emphasised that a higher level of effectiveness can only be achieved with the collaboration of financial institutions and the DNFBPs. For him, the onus of implementing the whole gamut of preventive measures which aim at ensuring that proceeds of crime and funds in support of terrorism are detected and reported, rests on these institutions.
As for Mr Hotte, he underlined that modern AML/CFT systems recognise the aspects of policy and coordination, as well as preventive measures and their supervision. Officers from financial institutions and the DNFBPs form part of a critical pillar of the AML/CFT system, which is the reporting side, he observed.
As regards the workshop, Mr Hotte recalled that it seeks to provide a platform for the sharing of experiences and best practices in reporting and disseminating reports on money laundering, terrorist financing and suspicious transaction.