All the 13 priority Bills, which the Head of Government, Prime Minister Charlot Salwai, rallied for support from the Members of Parliament as part of Vanuatu’s bid to avoid being placed on the Financial Action Task Force’s (on Money Laundering) (FATF) Dark Grey list, or Black List this year have been endorsed in Parliament.
As a result, the following Acts have been enforced, after they were published in the Official Gazette, yesterday evening:
• United Nations Financial Sanctions Act No.6 of 2017
• Government (Amendment) Act No.7 of 2017
• Company and Trust Services Provider (Amendment) Act No. 8 of 2017
• Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act No. 9 of 2017
• Bill for the Penal Code (Amendment) Act. 10 Of 2017
• Dealers in Securities (Licensing) (Amendment) Act No. 11 of 2017
• International Banking (Amendment) Act No. 12 of 2017
• Casino (Control) (Amendment) Act No. 13 of 2017
• International Companies (Amendment) Act No. 14 of 2017
• Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Organized Crime (Amendment) Act No. 15 of 2017
• Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (Amendment) Act No. 16 of 2017
• Copyright and Related Rights (Amendment) Act No. 17 of 2017
• Firearms (Amendment) Act No.18 of 2017
It was a close call because the FATF will host a plenary meeting with its member countries on Tuesday, June 20, to deliberate on the status of member countries, which are on the Grey List, such as Vanuatu.
This was why Parliament was under pressure to debate and approve the 13 Bills before June 16 (yesterday), in order for the President to give his consent and for the State Law to publish them in the Official Gazette before Monday, June 19.
In fact, Parliament successfully passed all 13 Bills on Wednesday this week.
It must be clear that the Parliament’s endorsement of the bills, followed by the publication in the Official Gazette will not remove Vanuatu from the Grey List, with immediate effect.
It is going to be a long process.
Meanwhile, Speaker of Parliament, Esmon Saimon officially closed the First Extraordinary Parliament Session of the year, yesterday morning.
The decision was made after Leader of Government Business; MP Gillion William withdrew the two final Bills- the Bill for the Import Duties (Amendment) Act No. of 2017 and the Bill for the Excise Tax (Amendment) Act No. of 2017, citing technical glitches.
Previously in the morning, the Minister of Education, Jean Pierre Nirua tabled a number of reports in Parliament.
This included the Ministry’s annual reports from 2014 to 2016 and the University of the South Pacific’s annual reports for 2015 and 2016.