Results of the 31st Plenary Meeting
For the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force “MENAFATF”
Concerning Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism “AML/CFT”
17-19 November 2020
On Thursday, November 19, 2020, the works of the MENAFATF 31st Plenary Meeting, which was held virtually over a period of three days, starting on 17 November 2020, was concluded, under the presidency of the Arab Republic of Egypt, represented by Counsellor Ahmed Said Hussein Khalil – MENAFATF President, Vice President of the Court of Cassation, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Egyptian FIU.
A large number of AML/CFT experts from 21 Arab member countries of the MENAFATF participated in the works of the Plenary Meeting (Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Bahrain, Republic of Tunisia, People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, Republic of Djibouti, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Republic of Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Federal Republic of Somalia, Republic of Iraq, Sultanate of Oman, State of Palestine, State of Qatar, State of Kuwait, Lebanese Republic, State of Libya, Arab Republic of Egypt, Kingdom of Morocco, Islamic Republic of Mauritania, and Republic of Yemen), as well as the participation of representatives from several observer countries and bodies at the MENAFATF (Republic of France, United Kingdom, United States of America, Kingdom of Spain, State of Australia, Federal Republic of Germany, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, the Gulf Cooperation Council, Financial Action Task Force, Eurasian Group of FIU, and United Nations).
The Plenary Meeting discussed, during its sessions, many important issues related to the MENAFATF works and activities and took many important decisions in that regard. The most important of which was the approval of the appointment of Mr. Suliman bin Rashid Aljabrin, of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as the MENAFATF executive secretary as of 1 January 2021, for the period from 2021 to 2024, after reviewing the submitted candidates. The meeting also discussed, under the membership, a number of applications submitted to occupy an observer status at the MENAFATF. The European Commission’s request was accepted as an observer with the MENAFATF, which is the executive body in the European Union and one of the institutional members of the FATF. The Plenary Meeting also approved the closing accounts, the independent auditor's report on the MENAFATF financial statements, the MENAFATF’s annual report for 2019, in addition to a report on the MENAFATF’s activities during the period from November 2019 to November 2020, and a summary of the work and performance of the MENAFATF secretariat during the exceptional circumstances related to the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the works of the MENAFATF as well as its member countries, and the adoption of the paper presented in that regard.
In a related context, the plenary meeting listened to an updated report on what has been accomplished from the proposed action plan by FATF to increase the effectiveness of the MENAFATF performance. Members and observers praised the work accomplished in this context, and called on the plenary to continue to strive with determination and work to implement the remaining works on time. It also stressed the need for the participants to meet to provide the secretariat with their views on their proposals to amend the memorandum of understanding and the rules of procedure (the By-laws) and to reflect them on the current draft in preparation for submitting it to the next Plenary Meeting for discussion and approval, in order to increase consistency with the internal system with the actual reality of the MENAFATF works and in application of the principles of good internal governance.
As for the next MENAFATF presidency, the Plenary meeting approved the request of of Egypt to chair the MENAFATF during 2021, as of Egypt will continue to chair the MENAFATF for 2021, and Morocco will assume the position of vice president. However, the 32nd Plenary Meeting will be held during May 2021.
Meetings held on margins of the MENAFATF Plenary
On the margins of the Plenary Meeting, the meetings of the MEWG and TATWG meetings were held during the period 8-10 November 2020. The Plenary Meeting adopted the reports of the co-chairs of said working groups and committees and approved their recommendations.
Mutual Evaluations and follow-up processes
The Plenary Meeting reviewed the progress made by some member countries in the area of compliance to international standards related to AML/CFT, and commended the achievements made in strengthening their relevant systems in light of the plan set out in the MERs for each of them.
Within the framework of the second round of evaluation processes of member countries ’compliance with ‘amended’ international standards in AML/CFT and Proliferation of 2012, and in accordance with the evaluation methodology ‘updated’ issued by FATF in 2013, the Plenary Meeting approved the timetable for the ME process within the framework of the second round, the procedures paper for the second round of the ME process and the follow-up process based on the observations raised in the meeting of the MEWG. The Plenary Meeting also approved the Enhanced Follow-Up Reports that include a request to re-evaluate the ratings of technical Compliance of Islamic Republic of Mauritania and Kingdom of Morocco, as well as the report of Republic of Tunisia (without a request to re-evaluate the ratings of technical compliance). In addition, two reports on the VTC program were approved by Kingdom of Morocco and Republic of Tunisia.