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Up to K4.4bn laundered in PNG

The possible level of money laundering in Papua New Guinea could be in the range of K1.8 billion (US$533 million) and K4.4 billion (US$1.3 billion) based on the country's GDP of nearly K90 billion (US$26 billion).

This is according to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) estimate of money laundering between 2 percent and 5 percent of a country’s GDP.

This figure is revealed in the Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism National Risk Assessment of 2017, which was made public on Thursday.

Also made public was the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing Strategic Plan 2017 to 2020.

The National Coordinating Committee on Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing (NCC) made public both reports on March 22nd, as it aims to make the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing everyone’s responsibility.

Deputy Governor of the Bank of PNG, Benny Popoitai, said the NCC was created after PNG was grey-listed for lacking the necessary deterrents to fight money laundering and terrorism financing.

“We were blacklisted in 2013 or 2014. PNG was given 18 months to come up with a plan to get PNG out of the grey list. What happened was the PM, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, wrote to the Financial Action Task Force in Paris and made a commitment that PNG Government will do all it can to get PNG out of the grey list.

“Hence our story began then. Within a space of 15 months. PNG was taken off the grey list, September 2016 we were taken off the grey list by the Financial Action task Force.  And we were recorded as one of the fastest reforming country in the Asia Pacific Group. That was a real achievement.”

Secretary for the Department of Justice & Attorney General, Dr Eric Kwa, said most of the money laundered were state funds.

“A lot of the state’s funds are laundered through illegal means. And this committee, our role is to watch the government funds, watch the systems and see how they are responding to ensuring that we protect the state money and resources against illegal behaviour.

“In another sense we are also fighting against corruption. So we must thank the current Government in taking a bold step to put together this committee, put together reforms, because that is our Government response to corruption.”

Meanwhile, Dr Kwa said a number of legislations are being reviewed to ensure they are up to speed with current criminal behaviour.

“Today we are receiving reports that the laws that we passed in the last 10 years, we still need to go for amendments, because things have changed. 

“And so we have a total of six pieces of legislations that we are now reviewing hopefully by end of this year, we can push through those amendments to continue to respond to the changing phases of activities that criminals out there are engaging in. Because it’s about money laundering.”

The NCC comprises of 18 Government law enforcement and regulatory agencies......

SOURCE: PRESS Release /Pacnews/PNGtoday

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