Seychelles assessed as low risk for NPOs financing terrorist activities
Laurence added that this means that certain laws will have to be revised. (401(K) 2012, Flickr) Photo License: CC BY-SA 2.0
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles has a low risk for non-profit organisations (NPOs) to be used to finance terrorist activities according to a national risk assessment report shows.
This was outlined in a validation workshop of the first draft of the inherent risk report on Wednesday at the Eden Bleu hotel.
Non-profit organisations are groups set up for a particular purpose and the funds they get are used for the benefit of society. Under the Citizenship Engagement Platform Seychelles (CEPS) these include associations, federations and foundations.
The chief executive of the CEPS, Alvin Laurence, said that "now that we have this result, which shows that Seychelles has a very low risk, it will allow us to see how we can tackle this. The most important is how we will maintain the lowest possible risk so that we always remain one of those countries that have the minimum risk for financing terrorism."
Laurence added that this means that certain laws will have to be revised, and new policies will have to be put in place.
"When we say that the risk is low, we are saying that there is a possibility that it might happen. We need to amend certain laws and policies because there are certain areas that were not being covered. Before, a person simply needed to sign and agree that they are part of a committee. Now they have to provide more information on the job they do, and their source of finance so that tomorrow, should a person come forth with an allegation against the person, the person will be able to provide proof," added the CEO.
The National Risk Assessment for Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) was launched last year and the workshop is a continuation of a series of consultative engagements undertaken to understand the risks posed to the sector.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) sets out standards that countries are required to implement to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. Under FATF's Recommendation 8, which calls for a risk-based approach to the supervision of the NPO sector, Seychelles is currently rated non-compliant.
Jointly organised by relevant Seychelles Authorities and the EU AML/CFT Global Facility, the workshop brought together participants from NPOs, the financial sector, and the government among others to validate the information received.
A member of the National Anti Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) committee and the director of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Richard Rampal, said, "Now we need to share what has been found and make any adjustment needed."
He added that "we will now have to identify the mitigating factors that we need to put in place. In all environments in which we operate, there are risks and we cannot completely eliminate them but the important thing is to put measures in place that will reduce these risks, doing our best to ensure that our NPOs are not misused for such activities."
The report is expected to be finalised in the next coming two months.
"Before we enter the third round of evaluation, we need to have resolved all the technical deficiencies - linked mainly to laws and policies - ensuring that all our laws are up to date and in line with recommendations of FATF when it comes to AML/CFT measures. The next phase will be the implementation," said Rampal.
He added that the conduct of the risk assessment will not be a one-off exercise, as new threats will continuously emerge over time.
"For this reason, we will also be receiving the assistance of the EU Global Facility to build national capacity in conducting future risks assessments and enhance the NPO supervisory framework," continued Rampal.
At the moment that are a little over 200 NPOs operating in Seychelles.