MPs warned of consequences of failure to pass anti-money laundering legislation

A high-level delegation from the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) informed MPs on the National Security Committee yesterday of “negative consequences” for the Maldives if parliament fails to enact anti-money laundering legislation next month.

In an unofficial meeting with the committee’s chair, MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik, and MPs Abdul Azeez Jamal Abubakur and Mohamed Thoriq, APG Co-chair Andrew Colvin warned that the organisation along with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) “would be left with little option but to take certain measures that would be negative for the Maldives” should the legislation not be passed.

APG Executive Secretary Dr Gordon Hook noted that implementing laws on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) was “an obligation that the Maldives undertook voluntarily when you joined the APG in 2008” as a condition of membership.

“There are 41 countries in the APG. They include every country in the Asia/Pacific region with the exception of North Korea and three tiny Pacific states. Among those 41 countries of which Maldives is a member, you are the only country without a comprehensive AML/CFT framework,” he observed.

The anti-money laundering bill was submitted to parliament in late 2013 and sent to the National Security Committee for further review.

The absence of legislation “makes Maldives very vulnerable to money laundering and terrorist financing,” Dr Hook said.

He added that the vulnerabilities were identified by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a report prepared in 2011.

Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) Assistant Governor Neeza Imad meanwhile told MPs that the Maldives received a very low rating in an assessment by the APG in 2011, after which the central bank began drafting legislation on AML/CFT.

Technical assistance was provided by the APG and the IMF, she noted.

Countries that are listed by the APG for non-compliance with its standards on AML/CFT face “hindrances” in securing foreign direct investment, opening accounts overseas, and conducting international financial transactions, Neeza said.


Dr Hook explained that the APG in its annual meeting last year made a unanimous decision to send a high-level delegation to the Maldives “to express concern prior to the next annual meeting”.

Elaborating on the consequences, Dr Hook noted that 14 member states were subject to review last year by the FATF through the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG).

“They have what’s called a blacklist and counter measures list. There’s a lot of countries on that list at the moment and there are varying categories on that list. And it doesn’t matter where you are on the list. There are negative consequences to it,” he said.

The consequences include having overseas credit card transactions blocked for citizens of listed countries and the blocking of incoming wire transfers from European banks, Dr Hook said.

“It would be our concern – and the co-chair has expressed that – that the Maldives should not be the subject of those negative consequences at the very time that the Maldives is working very hard to eliminate public debt and to attract foreign investment,” he continued.

The parliament upon returning from recess has “a small window of opportunity” to pass the bill in March, he suggested.

If the legislation is not enacted before the next meeting of the FATF in June, Dr Hook cautioned that the Maldives’ case would be taken under consideration.

“I can indicate that the Maldives is already on a list of jurisdictions that are under consideration by FATF,” he said.

He added that the Maldives “dodged a bullet” last year because the FATF “looked at PNG [Papa New Guinea] as an alternative.”

A review by the FATF “could take upwards to three years,” Dr Hook noted, “during which you in the Maldives would expend a huge amount of resources to try to deal with the issues.”

“You can dodge that bullet if you enact the legislation,” he advised.

Political will

Following statements by the delegation, MP Moosa Manik said that the committee could complete reviewing the legislation in “24 hours” and send it to the floor for a vote in the first week of March.

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party MP urged the delegation to seek a commitment from the executive as the ruling coalition had “a clear majority” in the People’s Majlis.

In response, the delegation said it has met with Finance Minister Abdulla Jihad and was planning to meet Attorney General Mohamed Anil as well as officials from the Maldives Police Service and the Prosecutor General’s Office.

The MDP chairperson also alleged that some pro-government MPs could be involved in money laundering and might oppose enactment of AML/CFT laws.

MP Abdul Azeez – a member of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives – however told the delegation that there was “no political will to delay this bill.”

“We are willing to do this and I think it is our obligation to pass this bill for the sake of the nation. There is no will to delay this purposely,” he said.

In his concluding remarks, Colvin said the delegation was encouraged by the assurances from committee members.

“We will make sure that in our report we reflect that. We will need to get back to the [APG] membership and advise them on the progress and we will look on with much interest in March and hope that the bill can make it through the parliament,” he said.


9 thoughts on “MPs warned of consequences of failure to pass anti-money laundering legislation”

  1. These useless bodies are trying hamper our development in the name of democracy . But truth of the mater is that they really don't care and they do not want any development to happened to this Islamic country.

    Maldives had never been used a ground for financing terrorist in the history and they can not prove it.

    Money laundering is happening mainly in developed countries and taxcavtion is wide spread among the developed countries.

    IMF has the history of going behind the under developed countries like Maldives, Seychelles, Bangladeshi etc and use them to dictate the terms and use the country to earn huge profit of the country for IMF.

    We already have sufficient laws to prevent the money laundry and to prevent use of this country as a base for financing terrorist.

    We have much more pressing concerns than addressing this issue and parliament should focus on things which are going to bring peace and harmony to the country.

  2. dear Hero
    would you clarify for me what these laws are that are sufficient to prevent money laundering in this country? And how laws to prevent money laundering could hamper the development of our dear country? If we already have laws why do we not point them out then to the APG instead of trying to make more laws?

    What are these more pressing concerns that parliament should focus on? Is our country experiencing internal strife? Is our parliament not capable of doing more than one thing at a time?
    From what I read in this article there are pretty negative repercussions if we do not enact this legislature, yet you do not want them to do so. I do not understand then why you are against this and would appreciate it if you could enlighten me. I am sure you have your reasons. Thank you

  3. AML/CFT is a very very serious matter. Those who know nothing about money laundering (or what it means) and terrorist financing can claim what they like, but Maldives is increasingly a conduit for both. Maldives has long been a soft target for terrorist financing and a conduit for such activity. It's not a coincidence that a lone Maldivian ended up in Guantanamo Bay! Quite an achievement for such a small and insignificant country really.

    AML/CFT wrecks lives and destabilizes the world! The choice is clear for the Maldives or anyone else for that matter who thinks they can turn a blind eye to these: cooperate with the rest of the world or get shut off from the international financial markets.

    Just passing legislation won't be enough either. With a judiciary mired in corruption and scandal, the chance of legislation being enforced is almost non existent.

  4. where is the proof of money laundering taking place in Maldives ?

    Don't make assumption ? show the proof.

    Monye laundering is happening in mostly in developed countries by filthy rich people.

    They want to avoid paying taxes use this money to invest in other countries where tax regime is relaxed.

    For APG, it is better they go tackle the root cause and stop the source of funds .

    By trying to bully a small country like Maldives is not going to stop money laundering activity in the world.

    APG must go behind the people who are doing this activities .

    I am sure APG can not have any say and can not open their mouth on those who are really doing money laundry and even they can ask those developed countries to stop and threaten then either.

    We should not be afraid of this kind of threats from international bodies like APG who might be having hidden agenda.

  5. This is all beyond Hero's little brain. He thinks money laundering is all about rich people stashing suit cases of cash in tax havens! That's called tax evasion and not money laundering!

    Money laundering is not limited to particular countries or borders. Every single territory in the world is impacted. People like Hero do not possess the intelligence or skill to understand the global inter connected financial system and how criminals try to use that.

    Remember the "heavy investors" invited by Adheeb and Nazim? They tried a very amateur attempt at laundering their criminal proceeds. Had it been more sophisticated they would never have been noticed.

    Also this is not just about APG or even IMF. Every financial centre in the world takes this very seriously. It is the poor people in the third world who suffer most from the ill effects of money laundering and terrorist financing.

    Anyway I don't think many Maldivian politicians understand the issue either. Certainly this is way over finance minister Jihad's head. Fazeel Najeeb understood this but he has sensibly left the job.

  6. Hudosn.

    If you are referring to arhurs' brother ? then why the hell people like you have never stopped them still. They have not spent their entire life in Maldives and they have been living in others countries ? So why no one was able to stop them.

    It is good that we the third world country had managed to stop them putting their black money without having so called " Anti Money Laundering laws".

    I guess its best that we do not have the law and then prevent people like them doing such illegal activities.

    Hudson., It is better stop shooting at your own feet by giving examples like Aurthro's Brothers case .

  7. IMF , what good they have done ? They are people who had been taking undue advantage from third world countries .

    They lend the money and then dictate the terms to benefit them only and neglect the damages that cause to the nations.

    They are only looking at the interest of how much profit that they will earn from its finance.

  8. Hero boy you can shout and scream as much as you like but you have no choice but to get on with AML laws. Otherwise bye bye dollar 😉

  9. AML and people can shout as much as you want and we are not stupid like Fili Nasheed to lick the ass.


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