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Financial Intelligence and Anti-Money Laundering (Review Panel) Rules 2021
On 2 April 2021 the Government of Mauritius announced that Cabinet has taken note of the forthcoming publication by the Ministry of Financial Services and Good Governance of the Financial Intelligence and Anti-Money Laundering (Review Panel) Rules 2021.
Under the Rules, the Review Panel would be responsible to review –
(a) a decision of regulatory bodies, namely the Financial Intelligence Unit, the Attorney General’s Office, the Registrar of Companies, the Gambling Regulatory Authority and the Mauritius Institute of Professional Accountants in relation to imposition of administrative sanctions under section 19N of the Financial Intelligence and Anti-Money Laundering Act;
(b) a decision of the Financial Reporting Council under section 23A of the Financial Reporting Council; and
(c) a decision of the Registrar of Associations under section 14K of the Registration of Associations Act.
Set up under section 19Q of the Financial Intelligence and And Anti Money Laundering Act 2002, (“FIAMLA 2002”), the Review Panel hears applications of aggrieved parties against decisions of regulatory bodies, as defined under the FIAMLA, namely, a regulatory body entitled to impose an administrative sanction under section 19 N of the FIAMLA, the Financial Reporting Council under section 23A of the Financial Reporting Act 2004, and the Registrar of Associations under section 14K of the Registration of Associations Act.
It has been placed under the Chairmanship of former Justice G. Angoh since March 2021.
The FIAMLA 2002 has been amended throughout the years to align the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing Terrorism (AML & CFT) framework with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force hereinafter referred to as “FATF”. The FATF has recommended that sanctions, including administrative ones, be taken against natural persons or legal entities, which fail to comply with AML/CFT requirements. Accordingly, the FIAMLA 2002 has empowered bodies, such as the Financial Services Commission, the Bank of Mauritius, the Financial Intelligence Unit (in its capacity as regulators), the Gambling Regulatory Authority, the Attorney-General’s Office, the Financial Reporting Council, to act as regulators, in respect of the application of the AML/CFT framework, for its licensees (members).
In 2019, the FIAMLA 2002 was amended, inter-alia, to provide for administrative sanctions in the event that a regulatory body has reasonable cause to believe that of its licensees:
(a) has contravened the Act or the United Nations (Financial Prohibitions, Arms Embargo and Travel Ban) Sanctions Act 2019, or any regulations made or guidelines issued under those Acts; and
(b) is involved in money laundering activities and the financing of terrorism and proliferation activities.
There are strict procedures to follow before a regulatory body can impose administrative sanctions. The regulatory body must inform the member of the following:
(a) its intention to impose the administrative sanction;
(b) the type and terms of the administrative sanction; and
(c) the right of the member to make written representations to the regulatory body within 21 days of the notice
It is only after considering the written representations of the member or where the member has not made any representation that the regulator may impose the administrative sanction. A member may then apply to the Review Panel, set up under Section 19Q of the FIAMLA to review the decision.
The member has 21 days to make an application for a review of the regulator’s decision. On the hearing of an application for review, the Review Panel may either confirm, amend or cancel a decision made by the regulatory body or remit the matter to the regulatory body for reconsideration. The Review Panel is required by law to provide reasons for the determination, a statement of its findings on material questions of fact and a reference to the evidence or other material on which the findings are based. Any party aggrieved by the decision of the Review Panel may then apply for a judicial review of that determination.