REPORT OF THE 34TH GIABA TECHNICAL COMMISSION PLENARY HELD IN SOMONE, SENEGAL 2ND -11TH DECEMBER 2020.
The Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) held its 34th working group and Technical Commission/Plenary meetings from the 2nd -11th December,2020.
Due to the Corona Virus Global pandemic, the Plenary meetings took place in hybrid form (limited physical attendance and virtual participation). The Risk Trends and Methods Group (RTMG) met virtually on 2nd December 2020 whilst the Evaluation and compliance Group (ECG), the Forum for Heads of FIUs and the Technical Commission met in a hybrid form in Somone, Senegal.
A delegation drawn from competent authorities including representative from the Financial Intelligence Unit, Anti-Corruption Commission, Corporate Affairs Commission, Law Officers Department, Sierra Leone Police, Bank of Sierra Leone and Sierra Leone Bankers Association left Sierra Leone for Senegal.
The Sierra Leone’s Second Round of Mutual Evaluation Report was tabled for discussions with four (4) key contentious issues to be deliberated. These four (4) key issues included Immediate Outcome 1, Recommendations 1,5 and 6 Respectively. The Plenary concluded that since the conclusion of Sierra Leone’s first mutual evaluation in 2007, the country had taken steps to enhance its legal and institutional frameworks, and, to a moderate extend, understands its ML/TF risk. Sierra Leone has coordinated actions to combat ML/TF.
The Plenary however noted that Sierra Leone requires improvements in the areas of : use of financial intelligence to investigate ML/TF to trace assets, confiscation of proceeds and instrumentalities of crime or assets of corresponding value, investigation and prosecution for ML, particularly concerning parallel investigations, investigation and prosecutions of TF, preventing the abuse of NPOs for TF, implementation of preventive measures by non-bank financial institutions and designated non-financial businesses and professions (DNFBPs), supervision and monitoring of these entities , as well as the collection and maintenance of comprehensive ML/TF-related statistics.
The Evaluation and Compliance Group (ECG) considered these issues as priority areas deserving discussion. The ECG also considered issues requiring clarification and proposed draft texts for incorporation in the final MER.
The ECG identified areas deserving discussion in Plenary and streamlined the list of priority issues to define and focus discussions at the Plenary. Based on the discussions, the ECG recommends that the rating on IO1, R1 and R6 should be maintained on moderate, LC and PC levels respectively. However, the ECG directed the assessment team and the assessed country to revise the key issues documented to reflect clarifications provided by both the country and the assessment team during the ECG for consideration by the plenary to justify maintenance of the ratings and to facilitate decision by the Plenary. The ECG referred R5 to the plenary for further discussions but also invited the assessors to consider revising the text to provide more clarity. Delegates did not raise concerns on the other documents that provided further clarifications, including proposes text when invited.
Meanwhile after lengthy deliberations, the Plenary maintained the ratings of Immediate Outcome1 (Moderate), Recommendations 1( LC), 5(LC) and 6(PC) as reflected in the MER
The tables 1 and 2 below provide the ratings on the level of effectiveness of the AML/CFT system of Sierra Leone and the country’s compliance with the FATF Recommendations respectively.
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