ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, October 22, 2019 (CMC) – The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) says as part of its efforts to combat financial corruption and money laundering, persons now depositing funds into financial institutions, achieved through the traditional form of savings, known as “sou-sou”, will now have to meet certain guidelines.
Sou-sou is a form of saving, in which several people, collectively, contribute a specific sum of money into a pool, for a specific period. Under the system, one person traditionally benefits on each occasion from the funds placed in the pool.
FIU head, Tafawa Pierre, said the new guidelines were introduced, due to trends, based on explanations from several persons, who made large deposits into financial institutions, and claimed that those funds were gained from their participation in the “sou-sou” program.
Financial institutions already have the right to ask for the source of funds, once a deposit of EC$10,000 or more is made. However, smaller deposits, within a period, can be flagged within the internal system of the bank, as one of concern and that will require a declaration.
“The guidelines provide for the depositor to justify to the financial institution, the source of the money being deposited,” said Pierre, who explains that the proof includes a document from the leader of the ”sou-sou”, confirming that the person participated, the number of members and other documents that would confirm that the money was not gained, contrary to the money laundering laws.
Pierre said that once a trend is observed and it is deemed to be at high risk or avenue to facilitate money laundering, the FIU is mandated to develop guidelines for that sub-sector. There are presently no direct guidelines for hucksters and fishermen, as well as promoters in the entertainment business.
Grenada has several laws, aimed at combating money laundering, corruption and terrorism financing. The measures being enforced by the FIU is all part of recommendations, which the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has recommended for members.
FATF is an inter-governmental body, established in 1989. Among its objectives are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
In the region, the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) is responsible for enforcing and overseeing the recommendations for the international body.
Grenada will undergo its fourth mutual evaluation round in June 2020.