THE EGMONT GROUP: This Group of World Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) was established in 1994/1995. The group takes its name from the Egmont Arenberg Palace in Brussels, where the first meeting took place.The Egmont Group of FIUs is an informal network of more than 160 (FIUs) which provides a forum for federal FIUs around the World to improve co-operation in the fight against Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism and foster implementation of cosmetic progress in this field.
In Zambia, we have the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) which like other National FIUs collect information on suspicious or unusual financial activity from the financial industry (such as Commercial Banks) and other entities or professions (Accountants and Lawyers, Attorneys and Barristers) legally required to report transactions suspected of being money laundering or terrorism financing. Generally speaking FIUs are normally not necessarily law enforcement agencies. Their mission is to process and analyze the information received. I discussed the role of Zambian FIC in Details on my FB page for ease reference. If sufficient evidence of suspicious activity is professionally determined, then the matter is passed to the public prosecution agencies such as the ACC, ZRA, DEC, DOI or ZPS etc.
The Egmont Group defines an FIU as a central, national agency responsible for receiving (and, as permitted, requesting), analyzing and disseminating to the competent authorities, disclosures of financial information pertaining to suspected proceeds of crime and potential financing of terrorism, or required by national legislation or regulation (FIC ACt of 2010 in Zambia for example), in order to counter money laundering, terrorism financing, bribery and corruption.
In early 2008, with the support of Jim Flaherty, Finance Minister of Canada, and the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), the Canadian FIU, the Egmont Group established its Secretariat in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The goal of the Egmont Group is to provide a forum for FIUs around the world to improve cooperation in the fight against money laundering and financing of terrorism and to foster the implementation of domestic programs in this field. The Egmont Group provides support to member FIUs by expanding and systematizing international cooperation in the reciprocal exchange of information, increasing the effectiveness of FIUs by offering training and promoting personnel exchanges to improve the expertise and capabilities of personnel employed by FIUs, fostering better and secure communication among FIUs through the application of technology, such as the Egmont Secure Web (ESW), fostering increased coordination and support among the operational divisions of member FIUs, promoting the establishment and operational autonomy of FIUs in conjunction with jurisdictions with an AML/CFT program in place.
In the USA for example, The Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) of 1970, also known as the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act, or The Financial Record Keeping and Reporting of Currency and Foreign Transactions Act of 1970, The Money Laundering Control Act of 1986 and the USA PATRIOT (its ten-letter abbreviation (USA PATRIOT) when expanded, the Act’s full title is “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) Act of 2001 all give power and authority to Officials and Institutions to collectively combat Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing and other Financial crimes. One Section 314 with subsections (a) and (b) entail that the Federal, State, Local and Foreign (European Union including BREXIT for now) Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) through the FinCEN (Financial Intelligence Centre (USA FIU, Zambian Equivalent of FIC) can reach out to more than 37,000 points of contact at more than 16,000 Financial Institutions to locate accounts and transactions related to entities that may be related to or involved in terrorism financing (TF) or money laundering (ML). So for some of you Colleagues in Politics, Business, Trade, Commerce, Manufacturing and Construction, Religious, Legal and Accounting fraternity who think that ill gotten money or funds from Asia or Africa can be secured safely and stashed away in the Western World, or the Caribbean Islands or the Panama Papers, take heed, offshore accounts are just a false sense of security if the origins are not so clean and the intention is to hide the plundered resources. Just like the 48 houses, YOWA money can be forfeited to the State or the Western Country can refuse to hand it back to you. There is no honour in crime. Have a blessed. Week. KEKK 21/08/2019