GEORGETOWN, Guyana (GINA) -- Guyana’s minister of legal affairs and attorney general, Anil Nandlall has rejected opposition leader David Granger’s allegations that amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) (Amendment) Bill give the executive excessive enforcement powers.
Nandlall, in a statement on Saturday responding to Granger’s claims, stated that he has refined many of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) recommendations from which the Bill was coined with a view of reducing certain powers which were recommended to reside with ministers in the Bill.
On Friday, Granger told reporters that the proposals are dangerous in that they put a lot of enforcement power in the hands of the ministers of finance and legal affairs, powers that should reside with the Guyana Police Force.
Nandlall said, “For example, in the recommendations, the attorney general was recommended to have powers to instruct a commercial bank to freeze any account held at that bank which the attorney general has reasonable suspicion to believe contains proceeds of crime. I refined that recommendation to say that the attorney general must apply ex parte to a judge for an order to freeze the account, and must be able to satisfy that judge that he has credible and reasonable basis to suspect that the account contains proceeds of crime.”
“I specifically, shifted that power from the attorney general to a judge, because i believe that the executive branch of government should not enjoy such plenitude of power over the citizenry as there would be a likelihood of abuse. So I shifted that power to the judicial branch of government. That is only one instance of several, where I reduced powers which were recommended to be resided in the executive and I situated in other organs,” he noted.
“So I reject the notion or allegation made by the opposition leader that the Bill resides any unusual amount of power in the executive or that it is different from legislation of similar type existing elsewhere,” he continued.
Nandlall said the reality is that the AML/CFT is an extraordinary Bill, which bestows exceptional powers on all officers and entities named in the Bill because of its very nature, and this Bill came directly out of CATF’s recommendations.