Prime Minister Rami Alhamdallah and H.E. Mr. Azzam Shawwa, PMA Governor and Chairman of the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Terrorism Financing National Committee started a workshop today in Ramallah to release the final report of the National Team on assessing the risks of the crimes of money laundering and terrorism financing. Marina Weis, the Director of the World Bank in Palestine, Wael Lafi, World Bank Financial Follow-Up Unit Director in Palestine, members of the National Team and the specialized money laundering and terrorism financing crimes risks assessment teams, and representatives from legal and official organizations were present at the workshop.
Prime Minister Rami Alhamdallah said in his speech in the workshop “Our efforts to assess the risks of the crimes of money laundering and terrorism financing and combating them are in the right direction and framework to confront regional and international challenges and to ensure our people’s rights and aspirations relevant to security and stability. Our people have confronted the Israeli occupation for decades. Such occupation is one of the ugliest types of terrorism in the world.”
The Prime Minister thanked the National Team for their report on assessing the risks of the crimes of money laundering and terrorism financing. He stated that combating such crimes and being up-to-date with international efforts to fight them was the cornerstone of protecting the financial and banking sector and national economy as a whole.
The Prime Minister explained that Palestinian laws enforced the Security Council’s resolutions on counter-terrorism financing and weapons of mass destruction especially the Security Council’s resolutions under Chapter VII of the UN Charter including Resolution 1373 and Resolution 1267 of 1999 on combating terrorism financing and the resolutions that followed them and Resolution 2178 relevant to banning foreign terrorist fighters. A committee to enforce the Security Council’s resolutions was formed, under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. The committee is mandated to freeze the assets and funds of the terrorists listed on the international list of terrorists, which the United Nations had published, and list individuals or entities on the national list, which currently examines the possibility of listing terrorist settlers’ organizations and individuals who adopt terrorist ideologies to terrorize Palestinian citizens and carried out terrorist acts in Palestinian towns. The entities that fund those organizations and individuals will also be listed and the list will be published to be enforced by the international community in accordance with UN Security Council’s Resolution 1373.
Alhamdallah added “I renew, on behalf of President Mahmoud Abbas, our political commitment to complete this important step and to consider all recommendations by experts in the report relevant to the risks of money laundering and terrorism financing in all legal, regulatory, and operational aspects. We will issue instructions to all ministries and agencies to complete the obligations in the strategic plan and the ensuing sector work programs. We will instruct allocating budgets to carry out the plans and programs. Our work in the coming period will focus on shortcoming in the combating system before the mutual assessment of 2020 by the Middle East & North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF).”
H.E. Mr. Azzam Shawwa commended in his speech the efforts of the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Terrorism Financing National Committee to promote the policies that combat money laundering and terrorism financing across the country by drafting relevant laws and implementing programs that strengthen Palestine’s readiness to the mutual assessment of MENAFATF of 2020. This is conducted by the national assessment of the risks of the crimes of money laundering and terrorism financing. Mr. Shawwa commended the cooperation between the National Team and partners who prepared the report especially the World Bank in Palestine.
Executive plans to reduce the risks of the crimes related to tax, drug trafficking, and corruption, are national priorities, according to Shawwa. It is also a national priority to review the impact of the reduction of such risks on improving tax revenue, and recovery of assets ensued by such crimes, and enhancing financial resources of the treasury of the State of Palestine.
Mr. Shawwa thanked the Prime Minister for the continuous support of the Cabinet, which will facilitate conducting the recommendations relevant to amending laws and regulations and for providing resources. Mr. Shawwa also thanked the National Team Leader and specialized teams as well as the team from the Financial Follow-Up Unit for their joint efforts.
Marina Weis, the Director of the World Bank in Palestine, praised the work of the National Team on assessing the risks of the crimes of money laundering and financing terrorism and their final report that used the risk assessment module and standards of the World Bank. Palestine’s application in this respect is one of the best internationally, according to Weis.
Weis also praised the cooperation between the banks, legal and government entities, and international entities in preparing the report especially the cooperation with the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).