Mauritius progress to exit FATF list
At its June 2021 Plenary, the FATF has made “the initial determination that Mauritius has substantially completed its Action Plan and warrants an on-site assessment to verify that the implementation of Mauritius’s AML/CFT reforms has begun and is being sustained, and that the necessary political commitment remains in place to sustain implementation in the future.” This is a determining step towards exiting the FATF List of “Jurisdictions Under Increased Monitoring”. Mauritius has been commended by the FATF for the progress achieved in addressing the strategic deficiencies especially under difficult circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The FATF will now conduct an onsite visit at the earliest possible date following which a decision will be taken by the FATF, at its Plenary scheduled for October 2021, on the delisting of Mauritius from the grey list
In February 2020, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) decided that Mauritius should be monitored under the formal FATF International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) process as a result of strategic deficiencies identified, by the FATF, in its anti-money laundering and combating terrorism financing (AML/CFT) system. The FATF, accordingly, placed Mauritius on its public document of “Jurisdictions under Increased Monitoring”, externally referred to as the “Grey List”.
In order to exit that List, Mauritius was called upon by the FATF to implement an Action Plan, aimed at strengthening the effectiveness of its AML/CFT system. The Action Plan included, amongst others, the implementation of risk based supervision of the global business and Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs) sector, timely access to accurate basic and beneficial ownership information by competent authorities, providing training for the law enforcement agencies to conduct parallel financial investigations, supervision of the NPO sector and adequate implementation of targeted financial sanctions through outreach and supervision.
Mauritius made a high-level political commitment to implement the Action Plan within agreed timeline. Thereafter, Mauritius immediately started putting in place all measures and systems necessary to implement the Action Plan. In this process, Mauritius has worked with the FATF and the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG). Mauritius also benefited from the technical assistance from the European Union through the EU AML/CFT Global Facility, the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), UK, France, IMF, UNODC. The FATF Africa Middle East Joint Group (AMEJG) monitored progress of the implementation of the Action Plan.
A Core Group and a sub-committee supporting the National AML/CFT Committee was set up to monitor progress on the Action Plan. The Core Group reports to the inter- ministerial Committee on AML/CFT, chaired by the Honourable Prime Minister. In order to address the strategic deficiencies identified by the FATF, Government adopted numerous measures and put in place strong and sustainable mechanisms to strengthen the effectiveness of its AML/CFT system.
Together with the submission of different progress reports, three virtual face to face meetings have been held between the Mauritian delegation and the AMEJG in September 2020, January 2021 and May 2021. At the beginning of June 2021, the AMEJG concluded that Mauritius has substantially completed its action plan well ahead of the agreed deadline and made a recommendation to the ICRG for an onsite visit to Mauritius.
All measures taken so far demonstrate the underlying unflinching commitment of the Government of Mauritius to ensure the sustainability and effectiveness of our efforts to combat money laundering, terrorism financing and proliferation financing in the future.
Government is committed to continue along this path, not only to confirm the progress made during the onsite assessment, but also to take all necessary steps to sustain reforms well beyond the ICRG process in order to strengthen our AML/CFT regime, thereby strengthening our financial system.