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Sunday, 31 May 2020

Egypt's parliament to amend anti-money laundering law, review GERD negotiations

The anti-money laundering law, passed in 2002, will be amended to target terrorist activities funded through money laundering

Gamal Essam El-Din , Saturday 7 Mar 2020
Parliament
File Photo: Egyptian Parliament (Photo: Reuters)
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Topping the list are amendments to the anti-money laundering law (80/2002).
 
A report prepared by the House's Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee said amendments to the 16-article law are part of a wider effort to crack down on terrorism funding.
 
"Amendments to laws on anti-terror and terrorist entities were amended and approved by the House last month in a bid to tighten the grip on terrorism funding, and the amendments to the anti-money laundering law come to serve this objective and to go in line with new developments in the area of terrorist crimes over 18 years," said the report.
 
"Besides, the amendments come at a time when Egypt's legal framework against money laundering and terrorism financing became subject to review by the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force," added the report.
 
A task force delegation visited Egypt last week and made the necessary review.
 
Bahaaeddin Abu Shoka, chairperson of the Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee and leader of the opposition Wafd Party, told reporters that the amendments, approved by the committee on 2 March, generally aim to update the law in terms of widening the scope of the definition of money laundering to include the selling and smuggling of oil, natural resources, securities and cryptocurrency, among other assets.
 
"The amendments will also toughen penalties in the form of a seven-year prison sentence and hefty fines will be imposed on those convicted of laundering any of the above assets," said Abu Shoka.
 
The report explains that three main articles of the anti-money laundering law will be amended.
 
"Article 16 will be amended to give greater powers to the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Funding Unit, with the objective of expediting the necessary measures in this respect, primarily freezing assets and cash of those suspected of funding terrorist crimes," said the report.
 
Article 18 will be amended to make it compulsory for local authorities and the anti-money laundering unit to reinforce cooperation and exchange information with international organisations focused on fighting money laundering and the funding of terrorism.
 
Article 9 will be amended to require the anti-money laundering unit to publish up-to-date and comprehensive statistics and figures on its activities and operations in tracking the illegal funding of terrorist crimes.
 
The House is also scheduled to discuss a law drafted by a number of MPs on the legal framework of the post of a deputy provincial governor.
 
"The four-article law defines the post of deputy provincial governors, their tasks, salaries, and insurance," said a report prepared by the House's Local Administration Committee.
 
Besides, the House will also discuss a 15-article law drafted by MPs on regulating public advertisements and posters to observe rules and ethics.
 
The House's legislative agenda this week will include discussing a 36-article law regulating scholarship missions and grants.
 
Meanwhile, the House is slated to finish discussing new amendments to the construction law.
 
"Parliament has so far approved 39 articles of this law, which aim to regulate construction activities and urban development, and the roles of cabinet ministries in implementing this law," said the report, adding that "the law states that a higher council for planning and urban development shall be set up to take charge of licensing construction works."
 
The House is expected to take a final vote this week on the amendments to the antiquities protection law.
 
"Amendments to Law 117/1983 on antiquities protection were approved by parliament and revised by the State Council two weeks ago, and now they are up for a final vote," said another parliamentary report.
 
On Tuesday, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel-Ati will face questions from MPs on several issues, on top of which are questions on the latest developments in the Grand Ethiopia's Renaissance Dam issue.
 
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