Attorney General’s Office and Ministry of Legal Affairs Host Risk Assessment Workshop – Magnetic Media

#TheBahamas, April 26, 2022 – Non-profit organizations were invited to participate in a workshop to help the government achieve its goal of fully complying with Recommendation 8 of the Financial Action Task Force on Non-Profit Organizations Risk Assessment Criteria lucrative. The country’s rating for non-profit organizations is currently “partially compliant” since the last assessment in 2021. A two-day workshop was organized by the Attorney General’s Office and the Ministry of Legal Affairs in Baha Mar April 5-6. , 2022 led by Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Hon. Ryan Pinder.

Attendees included church leaders, charities overseers and presidents, and other stakeholders. Also in attendance was the Minister of State in the Attorney General’s Office and Ministry of Legal Affairs, Hon. Jomo Campbell. The event moderators included Dr. Cassandra Nottage, National Identified Risks Coordinator and Tiffany Moss, Senior Counsel/Chief Compliance Officer at the Office of the Attorney General.

Minister Pinder said that the NPO Risk Assessment Training and Workshop is a very important and necessary exercise, given the important role the sector plays in the country’s economy.

“As most of you know, The Bahamas is a founding member of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), the regional arm of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). assessed for their implementation of the FATF 40 Recommendations, of which Recommendation 8, which deals with non-profit organizations, was assessed as “partially compliant” by the reviewers. Partially Compliant essentially means that The Bahamas has not fully implemented the requirements of Recommendation 8 and that there are gaps in its legislative framework.

The objective of recommendation 8 is to ensure that NPOs are not misused by terrorist organizations:

1. Impersonate legitimate entities.

2. Exploiting legitimate entities as conduits for the financing of terrorism, including for the purpose of evading asset freezing measures.

3. Conceal or mask the clandestine diversion of funds intended for legitimate purposes, but diverted for terrorist purposes.

Mr. Pinder said that currently there are about 1,047 registered NPOs in the country. He explained that the Compliance Unit has completed the preliminary sector assessment process by conducting a desk review to enable risk profiling of each individual NPO.

The team, he said, used risk scoring criteria which, together with the detailed analysis of the information obtained from the questionnaires and interviews, will allow a comprehensive identification and assessment of the types of NPOs likely to be exposed to the risk of terrorist financing. abuse.

“The results of the risk assessment exercise will inform risk-based or, in other words, ‘targeted’ supervision and monitoring of the NPO sector in the Bahamas,” he said.

“I’m sure it will bring a lot of comfort to many of you if the result of this risk assessment demonstrates that you are at little or no risk of terrorist financing abuse. This will undoubtedly place you in a category low risk with little oversight and oversight If the outcome, however, if there are risks of terrorist financing abuse and corresponding vulnerabilities due to the nature of your business and engagement with international elements , then, by all means, increased monitoring and supervision would be warranted.

He noted the vital role NPOs play in the local economy, but said they also play a role in the global economy. “Your efforts complement government activities by providing essential services as well as comfort and, in many cases, spiritual guidance and hope to those in need,” he said. “Nonprofits have been a critical partner in providing much-needed assistance to disaster relief efforts in the Bahamas and around the world. We have seen this firsthand with our own experiences with Hurricane Dorian in 2019. Our NPOs were on the ground providing support to thousands of Bahamians, along with many of our churches, who were involved. These efforts are commendable.”

He said, however, that despite legitimate efforts, the events of 9/11 coupled with the ongoing international campaign against terrorist financing demonstrated that terrorists and terrorist organizations exploit the NPO sector to raise and move funds. , provide logistical support, encourage the recruitment of terrorists or otherwise. supporting terrorist organizations and operations. This misuse, he pointed out, undermines donor confidence and compromises the integrity of NPOs.

The Minister explained that in May 2021, The Bahamas asked the FATF for a re-rating of the FATF recommendations, which were found to be partially compliant and two recommendations have been revised since the Bahamas mutual evaluation. At the CFATF Plenary in December 2021, The Bahamas received nine upgrades, one downgrade and two ratings maintained. Recommendation 15 was downgraded from largely compliant and recommendation 8 maintained a rating of partially compliant.

“Completion of the risk assessment, with your input through questionnaires and interviews, will enable The Bahamas to further comply with Recommendation 8. In May 2022, next month, The Bahamas will apply for upgrade from “partially compliant” to “largely compliant” or even better “fully compliant”.

During her overview of FATF Recommendation 8, Tiffany Moss pointed out that several criteria increase the risk of NPOs with respect to the exploitation of terrorist financing, including those whose annual turnover is equal to or greater than $75,000 and cross-border cash movements (such as those with parent companies or affiliates in another jurisdiction), among other levels of risk.

PICTURE CAPTION

Letisha Henderson

(BIS)

Martin E. Berry