$$$ of prominent people under watch

With the World Bank estimating a monetary value of about $US1trillion ($F1.88tn) paid in bribes each year worldwide, the Financial Intelligence Unit says all persons who have been entrusted with a prominent public function in Fiji will soon be subjected to enhanced financial scrutiny.

FIU director Razim Buksh said the National Anti-Money Laundering Council was in the process of examining the requirement under the new international standards that would include all domestic ‘politically exposed persons’ or PEPs.

“A proposal will be submitted to government as part of Fiji’s action plan to implement the new standards. The new measures would increase FIU’s level of detection of instances where senior public officials are abusing their positions for private gain,” he said yesterday.

“It will also assist the FIU to track and connect financial transactions originating from the private sector players who may be part of the corrupt transaction.”

He said politically exposed persons would include cabinet ministers, senior politicians, senior government, judicial or military officials, senior executives of state-owned entities and important political party officials.

A person entrusted with a prominent function by an international organisation was also included in this PEPs category.

“The new requirements will also apply to family members and close associates of PEPs. Commercial banks, finance companies, foreign exchange dealers and other types of financial providers will soon be required under the Financial Transactions Report Act to undertake enhanced due diligence of all domestic PEPs,” he said.

“These measures will also support the proposed requirements on the annual declaration by certain public officers of their assets and liabilities and financial interests to the Accountability and Transparency Commission under the draft constitution.”

He said the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Monetary Fund estimated an amount of $US2tn ($F3.77tn) was laundered annually worldwide.

-Fiji Times