The opening of the National Capacity Building Workshop Ceremony last week at Sofitel Mauritius Resort &Spa Hotel at Flic en Flac to do with Countering the Financing of Terrorism for Mauritius to protect and secure Non-Profit Organisations (NPO’s) was a great necessity. The objective of this 4 day workshop as organized by the Ministry of Financial Services and Good Governance is to help fight and counter terrorism and achieve a “zero tolerance” policy.
According to Mrs Christine Umutomi, the United Nations Resident Coordinator, representatives of the UNOCT are very impressed about our government vigilance and its fight against the risk of terrorism financing in certain of our Non-Profit Organizations
In his address to the representatives of the United Nations Office of Counter Terrorism (UNOCT) who attended the opening ceremony and other distinguished guests, the Minister of Financial Services and Good Governance, Sudir Sesungkur warns of the danger where certain of our Non-Profit Organizations are vulnerable to the risk of terrorist financing.
The Minister said that, Mauritius will continue to stand by the United Nations Office of Counter Terrorism (UNOCT) and strengthen its capacity to combat money laundering and terrorism financing. He said that no stone will be left unturned to protect and consolidate the security of our nation by being in a state of preparedness and by taking decisive,effective and coherent action to wage war against terrorism.
Minister Sesungkur said that Mauritius has a long standing commitment to meeting international standards to combat money laundering and terrorism financing. He warns that there is always a danger of money laundering and terrorist financing risks in Mauritius.
A National Risk Assessment Report is, according to him, about to be finalized very soon and this will be facilitated by the World Bank in March 2019.Such a report will assist Mauritius in the prioritization and efficient location of its resources and provide useful information to financial institution and designated non-financial businesses to support the conduct of their own risk assessment.
Concurrently , a National Strategy 2019-2022 will also be articulated to set out the road map over the next three years. With a view to co-ordinate the effective and timely implementation of the National Strategy and Action plan, Minister Sesungkur told the packed audience that a Secretariat has been set up spearheaded by his Ministry.
The focus of this workshop, according to him, is to protect and secure Non-Profit Organizations (NPO) from being misused for terrorism financing purposes. This is an area where the government needs to give more attention in the future. While the activities of the vast majority of Non-Profit Organisations are aimed at providing assistance to those in distress around the world, the Minister said that a small number of unscrupulous entities have taken advantage of the NPO’s sector to raise and move funds, provide logistical support, encourage terrorist recruitment, or provide other forms of support to terrorists organizations.
It is therefore essential, said the Minister, for NPO’s to fully grasp the terrorism financing risks and ensure that there exists a robust risk-based governance practice to prevent terrorism abuse. Minister Sesungkur laid emphasis on the importance for both government and NPO’s to work together for security and safety purposes.
There is also, according to the Minister, a need to better understand the different threats between jurisdictions that are beneficiaries of NPO’s services and jurisdictions that are donors. Mauritius will be able to review the adequacy of laws and regulations relating to NPO’s identifies as being vulnerable to terrorist financing abuse.
Minister Sesungkur said that not all NPO’s are inherently at risk of terrorists abuse, some may be more vulnerable than others and there are NPO’s which represent no risk at all.
In conclusion, the Minister told his audience that efforts and initiatives to defeat terrorists and root out terrorist activity in all its form concern all of us and is a matter of great responsibility to all of us. The strength and determination on this battlefield of terrorist financing must be in absolute terms. He said that other countries vulnerable of terrorism financing risk can count fully on the support of Mauritius in this battle. At the end of the ceremony, Minister Sesungkur made a declaration to the press on the issue of combating the risk of terrorist financing to certain vulnerable Non-Profit Organizations. Certain countries should be on their guard!