The 16th MENAFATF plenary meeting was held in Marrakech from 27 to 29 November 2012. The meeting was chaired by the Saudi Arabia, represented by H.E. Dr. Abdulrahamn Abdulmohsen Al Kalaf, Deputy Governor for Technical Affairs at the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA); the meeting was inaugurated by H.E. Dr.Abdullah, Minister of State at the Kingdom of Morocco.
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, UK, USA, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Gulf Cooperation Council, FATF, Arab Monetary Fund, Eurasian Group and United Nations).
The sessions of the plenary meeting addressed a number of important topics in relation to a series of issues related to MENAFATF work and activities. The plenary meeting issued many decisions, the most important of which are the following:
1) Adopting the international standards on combating money laundering and terrorism financing and proliferation:
The 16th plenary meeting adopted the international standards on combating money laundering and terrorism financing and proliferation issued by the FATF in February 2012.
2) Mutual Evaluation Reports:
The plenary meeting adopted 2 mutual evaluation reports to assess AML/CFT regimes as follows:
- Republic of Iraq made by World Bank experts following an onsite visit to Iraq from 13 May to 2nd of June 2012. The report reviewed all aspects of AML/CFT systems, the extent of Iraq’s compliance with the international standards and the effectiveness of such systems. The report will be soon published on MENAFATF website.
- Republic of Sudan made by MENAFATF experts following the onsite visit from 18 to 29 December 2011. The report reviewed all aspects of AML/CFT systems, the extent of Sudan’s compliance with the international standards and the effectiveness of such systems. The report will be soon published on MENAFATF website.
3) End of the 1st round of mutual evaluations:
MENAFATF finished the first round of mutual evaluations which have started in 2006 by adopting the mutual evaluation reports for the Republic of Iraq and the Republic of Sudan.
4) Adopting the translated Arabic version of the 40 Recommendations on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism & Proliferation
The plenary meeting adopted the translated Arabic version of the 40 Recommendations on combating money laundering and terrorism financing and proliferation issued by the FATF in February 2012.
5) Adopting new criteria for Observers participation in MENAFATF activities
The plenary meeting adopted new criteria to promote MENAFATF relation with observer countries and entities in order to achieve the benefits expected for the MENAFATF behind holding observer status therewith; which would confirm the importance of cooperation and work with observer countries and entities to support MENAFATF activities and increase cooperation and coordination within the framework of exchange of expertise.
6) Bahrain moving from regular follow up process to biennial update:
The plenary reviewed the large progress made by the Kingdom of Bahrain and praised the achievements it has made in enhancing its AML/CFT regime based on the plan established in the mutual evaluation report. The plenary meeting adopted the 4th follow up report for Bahrain and approved to be moved from regular follow up to biennial update; the report will be published on MENAFATF website.
7) Follow-up reports:
Within the framework of the follow up for the mutual evaluation processes, the 16th plenary meeting adopted 6 follow-up reports for the following countries: People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Republic of Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Morocco and Arab Republic of Syria. The reports revealed the progress made by such countries in developing their AML/CFT regimes in light of the plan established for that purpose in their mutual evaluation reports adopted between 2006 and 2010.
8) Strategic Plan for the years 2013-2015 and 2013 Work Plan
The plenary meeting adopted the 3rd Strategic Plan for the years 2013-2015, which include the goals to be achieved during the strategic plan period, the strategies to be adopted for such goals; and which, in their turn, include, among others, preparing for the 2nd round of mutual evaluations to assess MENA countries’ compliance in applying the international standards in this area, clarifying the new ML/TF methods, techniques and trends and identifying the best regional combating solutions.
9) Working Groups:
The Plenary adopted the Mutual Evaluation Working Group (MEWG) Chair report, which included recommendations the MEWG has reached in its meeting held on Monday 26 November 2012 on the margin of the 16th Plenary meeting in relation to:
- Mutual Evaluation Process in the 2nd round.
- Study on the applicability of R.25 to
- Impact of the new recommendations on the follow up process.
- Assessment of the Gulf Cooperation Council in the 2nd round.
- Implementation of the timeline of ME Process.
- Implementation of the timeline of follow process for the countries assessed
- Latest Developments of Intl. Standard Review Process and Intl. Cooperation Review Process.
Further, the Plenary adopted the Technical Assistance and Typologies Working Group (TATWG) Chair report, which included the most important recommendations agreed on during the TATWG meeting held on Monday 26 November 2012 on the margin of the 16th MENAFATF Plenary; the following is the most important adopted decisions:
- Progress report on typologies project: “Proceeds of forgery & counterfeiting of instruments and documentary credits and their relation with ML/TF”.
- Progress report on typologies project “ML/TF trends and indicators-Update”.
- Topics of 2013 future Typologies Projects.
- Implementation of MENAFATF 2012-2014 Training Plan (contd)
10) 6th MENAFATF Financial Intelligence Units Forum
The 6th MENAFATF FIUs forum was held on Sunday 25 November 2012 on the margin of the 16th plenary meeting; the most important issues are summarized below:
- Encourage and follow-up the applications of FIUs to join the Egmont Group.
- Exchange the experience through a presentation on Best Practices made by 4 FIUs on “the role of FIUs or their relations with compliance monitoring”.
- Reassert the importance of combating corruption on asset recovery and MENAFATF role in preparing a training program and workshops to assist FIUs in issues related to its work such as tracing, seizing and returning stolen public funds to the country of origin.
- Mechanisms to build and promote FIU’s capacities.
- FIU relation with other Working Groups within the MENAFATF.
11)Next Plenary Meeting:
The 17th MENAFATF plenary meeting will be held in April/May 2013 in Khartoum, Sudan.