The 10th MENAFATF Plenary was held during 9 – 11 November 2009 under the presidency of the Kingdom of Bahrain represented by Mr. Abdurrahman Muhammad Al-Baker, the Executive Director of Financial Institution Supervision at the Central Bank of Bahrain.
A big number of AML/CFT experts from member countries (Jordan, UAE, Bahrain, Tunisia, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania and Yemen) and observer countries and authorities (Palestinian Authority, France, United Kingdom, United States, Kingdom of Spain, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, GCC, FATF, Egmont Group, and World Customs Organization) participated in the works of the Plenary.
The sessions of the 10th Plenary included a number of important events and addressed a set of issues related to the MENAFATF work and different activities as follows:
1) MENAFATF Strategic Plan for 2010 – 2012 and 2010 Work plan
The Plenary adopted the MENAFATF’s second strategic plan for the three following years 2010–2012, which includes the objectives the MENAFATF aims at achieving during the period of the plan as well as the strategies the MENAFATF will rely on for achieving those objectives. Such strategies include among other things continuing to execute the first round of the mutual evaluations of the AML/CFT systems applied in the MENAFATF countries for measuring the extent to which they comply with the international standards in this regard. The said strategies also include starting a new round of evaluations; establishing a communication channel between the FIUs in member countries to achieve a better regional communication and cooperation and to improve the exchange of expertise and knowledge among them; identifying and studying the new methods, techniques and trends in the ML/TF operations and determining the beset regional solutions to encounter them; achieving an effective partnership with the private sector as a major partner in the AML/CFT system through meetings with its representatives in application of the Private Sector Dialogue mechanism; and approaching the public to raise awareness on the ML/TF risks and the importance for combating them.
To execute this plan, the MENAFATF 2010 work plan, which includes the detailed tasks the MENAFATF will execute within the scope of the determined strategies, was adopted.
2) Mutual Evaluation
The 10th Plenary has adopted the MER for the AML/CFT systems in the Republic of Lebanon, which was prepared by a team of MENAFATF experts following the onsite visit to Lebanon in February 2009. The report addresses all the aspects of the AML/CFT systems, the extent to which Lebanon complies with the international standards in this regard and the extent to which those systems are effective. The report will be issued and published on the MENAFATF website soon.
3) Follow-up Reports
In relation to the follow-up process following the mutual evaluations, the 10thPlenary adopted 4 follow-up reports for Tunisia, Mauritania, Syria and Morocco, which showed the progress those countries made in terms of developing their AML/CFT systems according to the plan set up for that purpose in their MERs, which were discussed and adopted in 2006 and 2007.
4) Work Teams
The 10th Plenary adopted the report of the Chair of the Mutual Evaluation Working Group, which included decisions and recommendations the Group reached in its meeting held on 8 November 2009 on the margin of the 10th MENAFATF Plenary in relation to:
· The application of the revised follow-up process
· The timeline of the first round of mutual evaluation
· The revised mutual evaluation procedures paper
Moreover, the Plenary adopted the report of the Chair of the Technical Assistance and Typologies Working Group, which included decisions and recommendations the Group reached in its meeting held on 8 November 2009 on the margin of the 10th MENAFATF Plenary in relation to:
. Continuing to coordinate with the technical assistance donors to provide the technical assistance some MENAFATF member countries need to develop their AML/CFT systems, adopting a new mechanism for the MENAFATF in this respect;
· Carrying on with the arrangements necessary for holding a mutual workshop with the World Bank on “risk-based supervision in the AML/CFT field” on the margin of the 11th Plenary, which expected to be held in May 2010; and
· Urging the countries to participate in the typologies project undertaken by the Typologies Experts Team on ML/TF indicators and trends in the region.
5) Other Issues
Holding the joint meeting with the FATF in February 2010 in the UAE;
Approving the establishment of the Financial Intelligence Units forum, as an appropriate communication channel between the FIUs in the Middle East and North Africa countries, which will support the efforts of those FIUs in terms of exchanging expertise and information among them in a more effective way;
Approving to inform the Council of Arab Justice Ministers of the remarks of MENAFATF experts and any other member countries on the Guide Arab AML/CFT Law; and
Identifying the latest developments in the AML/CFT systems in some of the MENAFATF member countries.