Mauritius now ‘largely compliant’ with FATF recommendations

Minister of Financial Services & Good Governance Mahen Kumar Seeruttun said Mauritius had made considerable progress in implementing a number of recommended actions to improve technical compliance and effectiveness, as set out by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). It remains largely compliant by currently adhering to 35 of the FATF’s 40 recommendations.

The FATF issued a new list of ‘jurisdictions under increased monitoring’ – commonly known as the ‘grey list’ – which included Mauritius for the first time alongside 17 other jurisdictions. Jurisdictions under increased monitoring are actively working with the FATF to address strategic deficiencies in their regimes to counter money laundering, terrorist financing, and proliferation financing. The FATF does not call for the application of enhanced due diligence to be applied to these jurisdictions.

Seeruttun underscored the arduous work of the technical team in Mauritius to scale up efforts to improve Mauritius’ position and said there had been undeniable progress since the 2018 assessment where Mauritius was found to be adhering to only 14 recommendations. That it now satisfied 35 recommendations in such a short span of time indicated its unflinching commitment.

He said Mauritius would work to implement its action plan by:

  • Demonstrating that the supervisors of its global business sector and Designated Non-Financial Business & Professions had implemented risk-based supervision;
  • Ensuring access to accurate basic and beneficial ownership information by competent authorities in a timely manner;
  • Demonstrating that law enforcement agencies had capacity to conduct money laundering investigations, including parallel financial investigations and complex cases;
  • Implementing a risk-based approach for the supervision of the Non-Profit Organisation sector to prevent abuse for terrorist financing purposes;
  • Demonstrating the adequate implementation of targeted financial sanctions through outreach and supervision.

Seeruttun indicated that the government was already undertaking the necessary measures and reiterated its determination to further accelerate efforts and complete the agreed action plans and resolve the identified strategic deficiencies by September 2021.

The Mauritian Financial Services Commission (FSC) issued its first ‘Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Handbook’ in January, which is designed to assist licensed financial institutions to adopt a ‘more effective, risk-based and outcome-focused approach’.

The Handbook provides guidance for financial institutions on applying national measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing and on complying with the requirements of the Financial Intelligence & Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2002 (FIAMLA) and Financial Intelligence & Anti-Money Laundering (FIAML) Regulations 2018.

Mauritius was upgraded on 19 recommendations by the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) and Financial Action Task Force (FATF) last October. This gives Mauritius further recognition as a compliant, secure and safe business and investment destination, along with its improved World Bank ranking of 13th in ‘ease-of-doing business’ and confirmation of its compliance with the European Union good governance principles.

The upgrades make it largely compliant or compliant with 35 of the 40 FATF recommendations, including its so-called ‘Big Six’ recommendations for what are considered key measures to fight money laundering and terrorist financing.

The new Handbook covers the risk-based approach, customer due diligence, ongoing monitoring, reporting of suspicious transactions, record-keeping and employee training. Financial institutions should apply it when assessing the adequacy of their internal systems and controls and resolve any identified inadequacies. The FSC will take the Handbook into account when assessing levels of compliance during onsite visits.

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