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New law on counter terrorism being drafted

posted on 07/06/2004: 1674 views

A Ministerial Committee, established by the Ministry of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments under Decree No. 254 of 2003, is in the process of drafting a new Law on Counter- Terrorism, Abdulrahim Mohammed Al Awadi, Assistant Executive Director, in charge of AMLSCU (Anti-Money Laundering and Suspicious Cases Unit) of the Central Bank said yesterday. Speaking on the organisational structure of the UAE FIU and AMLSCU at the ongoing Regional Seminar for Representatives of South Asian Countries on establishing a Financial Intelligence Unit, FIU, Al Awadi said that the proposed Counter Terrorism legislation will have a separate provision to cover the responsibilities of legal entities and will criminalize all offences relating to the financing of terrorism.

There will be further provisions in the proposed Counter Terrorism Law which will detail the measures available for confiscation of property used in the financing of terrorism, he said. The official said that the UAE has a number of mechanisms in place to help combat terrorism and the criminal exploitation of its financial system. The supervision of the UAE banking sector falls under the authority of the Central Bank.

The Central Bank of the UAE has a fully fledged Banking Supervision and Examination Department responsible for off- site monitoring and on-site examination of banks and other financial institutions licensed by the Central Bank, The Central Bank of the UAE is empowered to issue freeze orders on funds anywhere in the financial system in the UAE, and to monitor accounts which may be used to facilitate terrorism, placing obligations on people and financial institutions to report any suspicious transaction, he said.

Al Awadi said that the UAE compliance with the 40 Recommendations and the 8 Special Recommendations combating financing of terrorism has been assessed by the FATF Mutual Evaluation Team, which concluded that the UAE has put in place a comprehensive regime of Anti-Money Laundering laws and regulations and, as such, is in the vanguard in the international fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

The Central Bank has set a ceiling of Dh 40,000 for the amount that may be brought into the country in cash or equivalent without the need for declaration. A Regulation has also been issued exclusively to moneychangers to ensure that all outward remittances of Dh2000 and above (or equivalent) are duly documented with proper identification of customers. These moneychangers also have to comply with Central Bank Regulation No. 24/2000 and its subsequent amendments. The UAE also has in place, since the establishment of the Central Bank, a system of licensing/supervising moneychangers, which has no equal in the region, he said.

Al Awadi said that the UAE welcomes and encourages cooperation with other jurisdictions. It has so far received and assisted several investigation teams from the USA since September 11 2001. It has also received teams from the UK, Germany, Pakistan and from some 600 countries to tackle different anti-money laundering and Terrorist Financing issues. The UAE has extended full cooperation to investigations carried out by Germany, the UK, Portugal, Turkey and FINCEN, in addition to the United Nations.

A team from the IMF came to study the "Hawala System" in the Region and was given full cooperation and assistance by the UAE Authorities to enable them to complete their task, he said. The UAE has extended full support and cooperation both to the UN and US Authorities in their efforts to track the accounts of terrorists and those who assist them, and continues to do so. In accordance with UN Security Council Resolutions, the UAE has frozen accounts of certain individuals and organisations. Reports have been compiled and forwarded to the UN through proper diplomatic channels, he added. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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