Jamaica News: The House of Representatives on Tuesday (December 3) affirmed the Terrorism Prevention (Reporting Entities) (Amendment) Regulations.
The Regulations seeks to ensure Jamaica’s compliance with its international obligations as well as strengthen the framework for combatting money laundering and financing of terrorism.
National Security Minister, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, said the Regulations was previously approved in the Lower House on November 26. However, that version contained errors, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, who sits in the Senate, signed the corrected version on November 28.
“It is now before us to be affirmed. This must be done in order to meet the requirements … under the Terrorism Prevention Act, and this version of the Regulations, which is final, will supersede what was done in the House on November 26,” Dr. Chang added.
Regulation 6A of the principal Regulation has been amended stipulating that a business in the regulated sector must establish a risk profile relating to its operations generally.
Such risk profile shall have regard to the following areas – business products offered; distribution channels; the national, regional and international environment in which the regulated business operates; and the size and nature of the operation.
“The paragraph further provides that the regulated business is mandated to establish a risk profile in respect of all its business relationships and one-off transactions that are high-risk. It also has a duty to employ measures commensurate with the risks it has identified in a bid to effectively mitigate those risks,” the Security Minister said.
“However, the business in question must not apply simplified due diligence procedures in respect of a business relationship or one-off transaction, which the regulated business knows or believes, or has reasonable grounds to know or believe, is related to money laundering or terrorism financing,” he added.
Paragraph (5) (b) of Regulation 6 (A) is also being amended to indicate that enhanced due diligence procedures shall require verification of the source of funds and wealth, held by, inter alia, the applicant for business.
“The amendment is, therefore, intended to ensure compliance with Financial Action Task Force (FATF) requirement to verify both the source of funds and the source of wealth for the applicable transactions,” Dr. Chang noted.
In addition, Regulation 18 of the principal Regulations is being amended to impose a duty on reporting entities to ensure that their overseas branches and subsidiaries advise them of circumstances in which they are unable to conform to specified standards.
“Consequent on which, the regulated businesses are tasked with advising the competent authority of their stated inability, the reason for the inability, and the measures taken to minimise the risk of terrorism financing posed to the regulated business,” Dr. Chang said.
The proposed Regulation also seeks to amend paragraph (4) by stipulating that a person who contravenes this Regulation, commits an offence.
“If the person is an individual who has been convicted by the Parish Court, that person will be liable to a fine not exceeding $3 million or to imprisonment of not more than three years or to both fine and imprisonment. If convicted by the Circuit Court, the individual will be liable to pay a fine or be imprisoned for a term of not more than 20 years,” the Security Minister said.
He noted that where a body corporate has been convicted by a Parish Court, it will be liable to a fine not exceeding $5 million, and in respect of the Circuit Court, a fine, which will be determined by that Court.