The 15th MENAFATF plenary meeting was held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 28 to 30 April 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.Fahad AlMubarak, Governor of Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) and Chairman of the Anti Money Laundering Permanent Committee (AMLPC).
A large number of AML/CFT experts participated in the Plenary meeting, representing MENAFATF member countries (Jordan, UAE, Bahrain, Tunisia, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, 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, Arab Monetary Fund, Eurasian Group and United Nations).
During the plenary meeting sessions, a number of important topics in relation to a series of issues related to MENAFATF work and activities were discussed. The plenary meeting issued many decisions, the most important of which are the following:
1)Renewing the term of the Executive Secretary for the period 2013-2016:
The plenary meeting decided to renew the term of the current Executive Secretary Mr. Adel Hamad Alfaiz Al Qulish, Saudi Arabia representative for a 3rd term of 4 years as of 2013.
The renewal decision was taken based on the request of all member countries, in appreciation of the large and continuous efforts Mr. Al Qulish has made in achieving many accomplishments and successes since MENAFATF establishment in 2004.
2)Reviewing and discussing the amended recommendations:
The plenary meeting reviewed, during one of the sessions, the adopted amendments made to FATF AML/CFT criteria, which include the addition of a number of new concepts and elements that are expected to help promoting the national mechanisms in the field of combating money laundering crimes and terrorist financing; it is worth to mention that FATF has adopted such recommendations in February 2012.
3)Qatar moving from regular follow up process to biennial update:
The plenary reviewed the large progress made by the State of Qatar 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 Qatar and approved to be moved from regular follow up to biennial update; the report will be published on MENAFATF website.
Within the framework of the follow up for the mutual evaluation processes, the 15th plenary meeting adopted 6 follow-up reports (in addition to Qatar report indicated above) for the following countries: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Arab Republic of Egypt, Republic of Yemen, Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Kingdom of Morocco and 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.
The Plenary adopted the Mutual Evaluation Working Group (MEWG) Chair report, which included recommendations the MEWG has reached in its meeting held on Thursday 26 April 2012 on the margin of the 15th Plenary meeting in relation to:
- Prospect on the form of the 2nd round of Mutual Evaluation.
- Study on the applicability of R.25 to Wakf (Update).
- Continue the implementation of the timeline of ME process.
- Continue the implementation of the timeline of follow-up process for the countries that have been assessed.
- Follow up on the latest developments in the review of the international standards and the International Cooperation Review process.
- Follow up on the formation of a committee for assessing MENAFATF’s policies vis-à-vis ME.
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 Thursday 26 April 2012 on the margin of the 15th MENAFATF Plenary; the following is the most important adopted decisions:
- 2 typologies projects on “the proceeds of forgery, counterfeiting of tools, documentary credits and their relation with ML/TF” and the report on “ML/TF trends and indicators” – (Update).
- Draft revised TATWG mandate.
- Carry on with the implementation of MENAFATF training plans for 2012-2014.
- Hold the Joint Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of Morocco / World Bank workshop on “Training the banks supervisors on monitoring the compliance with AML/CFT measures”, Phase 2, Kingdom of Morocco.
- Follow up on the organization of the regional conference on “cross border transportation of funds: challenges, detection and combating” in the Republic of Sudan and a “seminar for Prosecution Authorities and the Judiciary” in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
6)5th MENAFATF Financial Intelligence Units Forum
The 5th MENAFATF FIUs forum was held on Friday 27 April 2012 on the margin of the 15th 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 “Reinforcing the international cooperation”.
- Mechanisms to build and promote FIU’s capacities..
- FIU relation with other Working Groups within the MENAFATF.
7)Seventh Annual Report 2011, Closing Account 2011 and External Auditor Report
The plenary meeting adopted the 7th Annual Report 2011, which includes the activities and achievements made by MENAFATF in 2011; Closing Account and External Auditor Report for the same period were also approved.
8)MENAFATF 2013 Budget
The plenary meeting adopted MENAFATF 2013 budget, which is funded by the contributions of all member countries based on the principle of equality, and in such a way to provide the financial resources required for the Secretariat to carry out its tasks according to the work plans.
9)Next Plenary Meeting:
The 16th MENAFATF plenary meeting will be held in November 2012 in the Kingdom of Morocco.