AMLC, DOF anti-corruption unit boost info sharing links to deter laundering
MANILA, Philippines — The country’s top financial intelligence unit is beefing up ties with other government agencies, especially in terms of information sharing, in a bid to strengthen efforts against money laundering and terrorist financing.
In a statement, the Anti-Money Laundering Council said it is improving linkages with the Department of Finance to make it easier for regulators and law enforcement agencies to detect, investigate and prosecute violators of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001.
To this effect, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and AMLC Executive Director Mel Georgie Racela recently signed an updated memorandum of agreement to strengthen the cooperation and exchange of information between the two agencies to foil these crimes.
“This updated [agreement] underlines the unrelenting drive by the Duterte administration to flush out money launderers and terrorist financiers and stop the Philippine financial system from becoming a harbor for their nefarious activities along with other AMLA violations,” Dominguez said.
The DOF and AMLC previously signed an agreement on information-sharing and capacity building in 2014 to facilitate the efficient investigation and prosecution of officials and employees of revenue-generating agencies, who engage in smuggling as well as graft and corruption. The revised deal further institutionalizes mechanisms for the efficient exchange of information.
“As the country’s situation evolves, so does the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing. This agreement represents another chapter of collaboration and information-sharing between the DOF and the AMLC,” Racela said.
Witnesses to the accord signing were DOF Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS) Undersecretary Bayani Agabin and AMLC Secretariat Commitments and Policy Group Deputy Director Alvin Bermido.
Unlike most financial intelligence units of other countries, the AMLC is a hybrid agency with the authority to receive and analyze suspicious transaction reports, investigate money laundering and terrorism financing, and initiate the filing of forfeiture proceedings and money laundering cases.
Meanwhile, the Finance Department’s RIPS unit is its anti-corruption arm, which may request financial information from the AMLC to support its ongoing probe into suspected money laundering activities and other violations of the AMLA by officials and employees of the department and its attached agencies, including their family members.
The RIPS is tasked to investigate allegations of corrupt practices of officials and employees of the Finance Department and all its agencies, such as the Bureaus of Internal Revenue and of Customs.
It investigates unusual or unjustified accumulation of wealth disproportionate to the earning capacity of government officials and employees; gathers evidence and files appropriate criminal, administrative, and civil complaints against errant government officials and employees; and assists in the prosecution of cases for the recovery or forfeiture of ill-gotten wealth.
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