PNG facing downgrade, says Popoitai

Benny Popoitai

Frustrated by the lack of prosecution of financially-motivated crime cases, Bank of PNG has warned that the country’s global standing and cost of banking could be affected as a result.

Bank of Papua New Guinea acting governor Benny Popoitai told The National that there would be a team from the Financial Action Task Force (an international body which sets global compliance standards) and the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering, to start an audit next March.

“They will be here to look at how PNG has been complying with the international standards, on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing,” he said.

PNG will be assessed on its compliance with these standards.

A key part of that assessment relates to the effective use of financial intelligence to guide and drive prosecution of the most significant and harmful financial crimes committed against Papua New Guineans.

In PNG, those crimes are closely linked to corruption, tax evasion and illegal logging.

PNG was last assessed by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Asia Pacific Group in 2010 and was placed on the FATF grey-list as a result of deficiencies identified during that assessment.

Popoitai confirmed that in recent years, financial analysis and supervision unit had forwarded over 5,000 ‘suspicious matter’ and other intelligence reports on potential persons-of-interest to the relevant agencies.