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Mauritius reiterates high level political commitment to implement FATF’s action plan

The Government of Mauritius has reiterated its high level political commitment to implement the action plan of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) at the earliest so as to exit the list of High Risk Third Countries issued by the European Commission on 07 May 2020.

In a communiqué issued, yesterday, by the Ministry of Financial Services and Good Governance, the authorities reassured the global investment community that Mauritius remains a credible and trusted jurisdiction. According to Government, the list is not yet final and needs to be submitted to the European Parliament and the European Union (EU) Council of Ministers for approval, following which it will then become effective on 1st October 2020.
Mauritius also reiterated its commitment to implement the FATF Action Plan in the shortest delay despite the sanitary curfew prevailing in Mauritius since 20 March 2020. It is recalled that the authorities delivered on their commitment and a first progress report was sent to the FATF on the agreed date. The FATF process has been halted due to the Covid-19 situation and the progress report could not be assessed.
The country has obtained technical assistance from the EU funded AML/CFT Global Facility and the German Government through the German Development Agency, the GIZ to support the implementation of the FATF Action Plan. Even during the sanitary curfew, Mauritius has continued to work extensively with the technical assistance providers.
The communiqué highlights that unlike in the past when there were always fruitful consultations in line with EU practice prior to any major decision being taken, the present decision is contrary to the spirit of dialogue and partnership which binds Mauritius and the EU. Mauritius initiated actions to open a dialogue with the European Commission as soon as the authorities took cognizance of the proposed listing of Mauritius through a press article published on 05 May 2020.
The EU listing is a direct consequence of the listing of Mauritius by the FATF on its list of “Jurisdictions under Increased Monitoring”, stipulates the communiqué. It is recalled that the Government of Mauritius has, in February 2020, given a high level political commitment to the FATF to implement the Action Plan within agreed timelines and is taking all necessary measures to honour its commitment.
In addition, under the FATF Action Plan, Mauritius does not have technical compliance issues. The Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) legal framework has been extensively revamped and as at date, Mauritius is largely compliant or compliant with 35 out of the 40 Recommendations as compared to 14 largely compliant or compliant ratings at the time of the publication of its Mutual Evaluation Report in September 2018.
More importantly, Mauritius has achieved the FATF expectations with respect to what the FATF has termed the “Big Six Recommendations”. These are: the criminalisation of the money laundering offence, the criminalisation of the terrorism financing offence, the implementation of a framework for targeted financial sanctions, customer due diligence, record keeping and the reporting of suspicious transactions.
In its public statement, the FATF has identified the areas in which Mauritius has to demonstrate an increase in the level of effectiveness of its AML/CFT system. This situation is not unique to Mauritius, states the communiqué. Other countries including FATF members, which have been assessed so far have yet to achieve a high or substantial level of effectiveness in the same areas.

Source: Republic of Mauritius