The 9th MENAFATF Plenary was held in the Kingdom of Bahrain from 18-20 May, 2009 under the presidency of the Kingdom, represented by Mr. Abdulrahman Mohammed Al-Baker, Executive Director of the Financial Institutions Supervision department at the Central Bank of Bahrain. The Plenary was attended by a large number of AML/CFT experts from member countries (Jordan, UAE, Bahrain, Tunisia, Algeria, KSA, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania and Yemen) as well as observer countries and organizations (Palestinian Authority, the Republic of France, the UK, the USA, the Kingdom of Spain, the International Monetary Fund, the Gulf Cooperation Council, the FATF, Egmont Group, the APEC and the International Customs Organization).
The sessions of the 9th Plenary included a number of important events that addressed a set of subjects related to the MENAFATF work and various activities as follows:
The 9th Plenary adopted the Mutual Evaluation Report on the AML/CFT regimes in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, prepared by a team of MENAFATF experts, following an onsite visit to the Kingdom in July 2008. Moreover, the Plenary adopted the Detailed Assessment Report on the AML/CFT regimes in the Arab Republic of Egypt, prepared by a team of World Bank experts, following an onsite visit to Egypt in October 2008. Both addressed all the aspects of the AML/CFT systems, the extent to which Jordan and Egypt comply with the international standards in this regard as well as the efficiency of those systems. Both reports will be published on the MENAFATF website soon.
The 9th Plenary adopted the follow up reports of the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and the Arab Republic of Syria, which show the extent to which the those countries have progressed in developing their AML/CFT systems in light of the plan set for this purpose in their MERs discussed and adopted in November 2006. According to the applied procedures, the Plenary decided that the mentioned countries should provide other progress reports in the coming period, reflecting the improvements and activation expected for their systems.
Bank Account for Training and Participation in Events
The Plenary adopted a decision to open a bank account for the MENAFATF for supporting the participation in training programs and events related to AML/CFT, in which member countries wish to participate. The Plenary also adopted a proposed mechanism for spending from this account for the participants in training sessions the MENAFATF participates in or in their organization. MENAFATF member countries, observers and international organizations would contribute with donations in this regard.
The Plenary adopted the report of the Chair of the Mutual Evaluation Working Group, which included the decisions and recommendations the team reached in its meeting held on 17 May, 2009 on the margin of the 9th MENAFATF Plenary, regarding the following:
- Adopting the Timeline for the first round of the mutual evaluation.
- A study prepared by the MENAFATF Secretariat, including possible ways to increase the number of experts qualified to participate in the mutual evaluations conducted by the MENAFATF.
- Adopting the automatic publication mechanism for MENAFATF MERs.
The Plenary also adopted the report of the Chair of the Technical Assistance and Typologies Working Group, which included the decisions and recommendations the team reached in its meeting held on 17 May, 2009 on the margin of the 9th MENAFATF Plenary, regarding the following:
- Continuing the coordination with technical assistance donors for providing the needs of some MENAFATF member countries to develop their AML/CFT systems.
- Holding training sessions on the sidelines of Plenary Meetings on important subjects to assist countries in training the AML/CFT competent authorities on performing their role effectively in this field.
- Approving the formation of a Typologies Experts Team responsible for studying ML/FT methods and techniques on the regional level.
- Approving a plan presented by World Bank to hold a training workshop on “risk-based supervision in relation to AML/CFT” on the margin of the next Plenary or the one after it.
- Approving the adoption of a mechanism for dialogue with the private sector in the region to communicate with it for a better understanding of the international AML/CFT standards and to encounter challenges facing it in implementing and complying with these standards.
- Approving the initiation of cooperation with the Council of Arab Interior Ministers, and determining the forms of cooperation with it in the AML/CFT field.
- Approving the setting of a mechanism to promote the role of the FIUs of member countries, exchange expertise and cooperate with each other.
- Acknowledging the latest developments in AML/CFT systems in some MENAFATF member countries.
- Adopting the 4th MENAFATF annual report (for 2008), including the final accounts, the auditor’s report and the 2010 budget.