On Sunday morning, 06 June 2021, and over three days, the works of the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF) 32nd Plenary Meeting was opened which was held “remotely”, headed by His Excellency Counselor/ Ahmed Saeed Hussein Khalil – President of the MENAFATF, Vice-President of the Court of Cassation and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Egyptian Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorist Unit (“EMLCU”).
The meeting was attended by heads of delegations of member countries, and experts on AML/CFT, as well as experts from observers’ countries and international institutions.
On the margins of the plenary meeting, meetings of the Mutual Evaluation Working Group (“MEWG”) and the Technical Assistance and Typologies Working Group (“TATWG”) were held during the period from 30 May – 02 June 2021.
Over the 3 days, the plenary meeting dealt with a number of topics on its agenda, the most important of which is the discussion and adoption of the Mutual Evaluation Report (“MER”) of the Arab Republic of Egypt. This Report provided a summary of the measures in place with relation to AML/CFT in the Arab Republic of Egypt, and also analyzed the extent to which the 40 recommendations of FATF are complied with as well as the effectiveness of the AML/CFT systems in the country. The plenary meeting also discussed and adopted the 1st Enhanced Follow-Up Report (“EFUR”) of the United Arab Emirates, which includes a Technical Compliance re-rating request of some recommendations. The Report clarifies the efforts of the United Arab Emirates in addressing the shortcomings referred to in the MER. In addition, the plenary meeting discussed and adopted the two EFURs for the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan - without having TC re-rating request. The Report of each country explains the efforts taken to address the shortcomings by implementing the recommended actions contained in the MER. On the other hand, the plenary meeting discussed developments in the implementation of the MENAFATF’s action plan with the FATF, which aims to increase the effectiveness of the MENAFATF performance, and adopted the basis of MENAFATF funding, as well as amendments to the MENAFATF bylaws, in addition to following up on voluntary tax compliance programs for member countries, whereas the plenary meeting adopted the update on the tax compliance program for the Kingdom of Morocco, and the typologies report on money laundering resulting from crimes of human trafficking and smuggling of migrants, and also approved the commission of the new typologies project on the abuse of NPOs in TF activities as of October 2021.
The plenary meeting also touched on the MENAFATF’s relationship with international and regional bodies and organizations working in the field of AML/CFT, as well as current and future cooperation therewith, such as the FATF, in addition to adopting some working papers related to the mutual evaluation process in the second round, funding plans, and other organizational and administrative matters.
These meetings come within the framework of unifying regional and international efforts in the Middle East and North Africa to combat money laundering and related predicate offenses as well as combating the financing of terrorism and proliferation in order to protect the economic, social and political systems from the risks of these offenses.