The 12th MENAFATF plenary meeting was held in Sharq Village & SPA in Doha, the State of Qatar from 30 November until 2nd of December 2010. The meeting was presided by the Tunisian Republic, represented by his Excellency Mr. Samir Brahimi, Secretary General of the Tunisian Financial Analysis Commission and General Manager of Judicial, Regulation and Audit Affairs at the Central Bank of Tunisia.
H.E. Sheikh Abdullah Saud Al-Thani, Governor of Qatar Central Bank inaugurated the plenary hosted by the National Committee for Anti Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing (NAMLC). Sheikh Al Thani stressed on the importance of the MENAFATF in the field of AML/CFT and highlighted the efforts made by the State of Qatar in supporting the MENAFATF activities and work.
A large number of AML/CFT experts participated in the Plenary meeting, representing MENAFATF member countries (Jordan, UAE, Bahrain, Tunisia, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania, and Yemen), in addition to observer countries and organizations (Palestine, France, United Kingdom, USA, Spain, the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Gulf Cooperation Council, FATF, Egmont Group and Arab Monetary Fund).
The 12th Plenary included a number of important events and discussed a series of subjects related to the MENAFATF work and activities, as follows:
1) Mutual Evaluation Reports:
The 12th Plenary adopted the mutual evaluation report for the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria made by a team of MENAFATF experts following the on-site visit to the Republic of Algeria from 6 to 17 December 2009. The report discussed all aspects of the AML/CFT regime and the extent of compliance of the Republic with the international standards in this regard and the extent of regime effectiveness. The report will be published on the MENAFATF website soon.
2) Follow-up reports:
Within the framework of the follow up process for the mutual evaluation processes, the 12th Plenary meeting has adopted 6 follow-up reports for the United Arab Emirates, the State of Qatar, the Republic of Yemen, the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Kingdom of Morocco and the Arab Republic of Syria; such reports showed the progress made by those countries in developing their AML/CFT regimes according to the plan set up for that purpose in their MERs adopted between 2006 and 2008.
3) The 2nd MENAFATF Ministerial (High Level) Meeting.
The Plenary agreed on holding the 2nd ministerial (high level) meeting on May 2011 in the State of Kuwait on the margin of the 13th Plenary meeting; the invitation will be addressed to the Ministers, Governors of the Central Banks and Presidents of National Committees concerned with AML/CFT in the MENAFATF member countries.
4) Presidency Proposals:
The 12th Plenary adopted the proposals submitted by the Tunisian Presidency; the Plenary approved as well its implementation mechanisms as such:
- To form a committee of experts from the member countries – in addition to the Secretariat – that evaluates the extent to which the factors required to ensure the quality and consistency of MERs, particularly the aspects of independency, objectivity, accuracy and compliance with the procedures adopted and observance of the FATF standards, methodology and the MERs made by other entities and on which the mutual evaluation process is based.
- To consider introducing some amendments on the MoU and the by-laws.
- To form a permanent technical committee of experts to contribute efficiently to the process review of the FATF 40 + 9 recommendations through the follow-up undertaken by the MEWG to the regional and international developments in relation to the mutual evaluation and international cooperation and proposing the necessary in this regard. It is to mention that the Board of Governors of the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) issued resolution number 9/2010 on calling all Arab states to give appropriate attention and care to the AML and CFT issue, and to develop their legislations and regulations in accordance to the prevailing International Standards.
- To outreach the regional financial institutions which have the ability to support the MENAFATF activities through practicing their funding activities to introduce the MENAFATF and its objectives, and support the relation between MENAFATF and FSRBs and not to limit the participation of the MENAFATF to the regular meetings of such groups.
5) Working Groups:
The Plenary adopted the report of the Chair of the Mutual Evaluation Working Group, which included decisions and recommendations the MEWG has reached in its meeting held in Qatar on 29 November 2010 on the margin of the 12th Plenary meeting in relation to:
- Adopting the timeline of ME process.
- Adopting Timeline of ME follow-up process for countries that have been already evaluated.
- Expanding the MEWG membership to all member countries that wish to join the MEWG.
- Finalizing on a tentative basis the preparation of the Draft ME Procedures “of the 2nd round of the ME” and amending the follow up procedures applicable in the first round.
- Forming a permanent technical team related to the MEWG to enhance the participation in the review process of the FATF criteria and recommendations as well as the tasks entrusted to the Working Group.
- Urging member countries to encourage the private sector institutions towards expressing their opinions directly to the FATF Secretariat with regard to the amendments agreed upon within the review process of the recommendations and criteria through a paper posted by the FATF on its website within the framework of public discussions.
- Adopting the ME key principles which were issued by the FATF in June 2010 as principles applicable in the ME conducted by the MENAFATF.
- Establishing a mechanism to follow up the regional and international developments in the field of international cooperation.
Moreover, the Plenary adopted the report of the Chair of the Technical Assistance and Typologies Working Group, which included decisions and recommendations the TATWG has reached in its meeting held on November 29, 2010 on the margin of the 12th MENAFATF Plenary in relation to:
- Adopting the TATWG mandate following the amendments made thereto.
- Adopting the Typologies Report on “ML/TF Trends and Indicators” and publishing the same on the MENAFATF website.
- Approving to start working on the new project proposal on “Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances and Money Laundering”
- Adopting the addition of a new chapter (on the Regulatory bodies over the NPOs) to the training mechanism adopted by the MENAFATF, for the most important entities concerned with AML/CFT.
- Approving to hold a seminar on prosecution authorities and judiciaries and a Regional Conference entitled “Cross-Border Cash Transportation: Challenges, Detection, and Combating” during the 1st half of the next year.
- Proceeding with the coordination of TA donors to provide some member countries with their needs’ in terms of TA to improve their AML/CFT regimes.
6) 2nd MENAFATF Financial Intelligence Units Forum
The 2nd MENAFATF FIUs forum was held on Sunday 28 November, 2010; the most important issues are summarized below:
- Encouraging and following-up the applications of joining the Egmont Group for FIUs.
- Exchanging the expertise through a presentation of Best Practices made by an FIU on its electronic and physical security measures.
- The mechanisms proposed by the sub-committee to build and promote the capacities of FIUs.
- Putting in place mechanisms of cooperation with other Working Groups within the MENAFATF.
The 3rd MENAFATF FIU forum will be held on the margin of the 13th plenary meeting in Kuwait on May 2011.
7) Other Issues:
- To adopt the work plan for 2011.
- To identify the latest developments related to AML/CFT in some MENAFATF member countries.
8) Next Plenary Meeting:
The 13th MENAFATF Plenary Meeting will be held from 1 to 5 May 2011 in the State of Kuwait.