Countries/Jurisdictions of Primary Concern - Guinea
The lack of record-keeping, weak law enforcement, corruption, and the informal, cash-based economy in Guinea provide a fertile environment for money laundering and its predicate offenses. Additionally, there are a growing number of unauthorized currency dealers that resist government measures against unlicensed operators. Guinea has an extensive black market for smuggled goods, which includes illegal drugs trafficked from Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone. Local officials believe the sale of counterfeit currency in Guinea involves money laundering. Reportedly, certain segments of the large Lebanese expatriate community launder the proceeds of outside criminal activity by purchasing or constructing buildings in Guinea for immediate sale. Other money laundering methods used in Guinea include the purchasing of diamonds or gold for resale. Stolen cars from the United States are often destined for West African markets, including Guinea. Due to limited law enforcement capacity, Guinean authorities struggle to determine the nexus between illicit funds and criminal organizations, and possible links to terrorism financing.
Guinea is plagued by misappropriation of public funds; however, there are no investigations that have connected corrupt Guinean officials with laundering activities. Most illicit funds are transferred via a widespread and well established network of money transfer agents operating out of local markets. The only financial reporting that occurs is between local banks and the Central Bank of Guinea.
For additional information focusing on terrorist financing, please refer to the Department of State’s Country Reports on Terrorism, which can be found at: http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/
DO FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS ENGAGE IN CURRENCY TRANSACTIONS RELATED TO INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS TRAFFICKING THAT INCLUDE SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF US CURRENCY; CURRENCY DERIVED FROM ILLEGAL SALES IN THE U.S.; OR ILLEGAL DRUG SALES THAT OTHERWISE SIGNIFICANTLY AFFECT THE U.S.: NO
CRIMINALIZATION OF MONEY LAUNDERING:
“All serious crimes” approach or “list” approach to predicate crimes: All serious crimes
Are legal persons covered: criminally: YES civilly: YES
KNOW-YOUR-CUSTOMER (KYC) RULES:
Enhanced due diligence procedures for PEPs: Foreign: YES Domestic: YES
KYC covered entities: The Public Treasury, Central Bank, banks, currency exchanges and money remitters, microfinance institutions, insurance companies, the post office, real estate and travel agencies, auditors, service companies, cash couriers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), lawyers, independent legal advisors, accountants, brokers, dealers, casinos, dealers in precious metals and stones, and notaries
Number of STRs received and time frame: 10 in 2013
Number of CTRs received and time frame: Not applicable
STR covered entities: The Public Treasury, Central Bank, banks, currency exchanges and money remitters, microfinance institutions, insurance companies, the post office, real estate and travel agencies, auditors, service companies, cash couriers, NGOs, lawyers, independent legal advisors, accountants, brokers, dealers, casinos, dealers in precious metals and stones, and notaries
MONEY LAUNDERING CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS/CONVICTIONS:
RECORDS EXCHANGE MECHANISM:
With U.S.: MLAT: NO Other mechanism: YES
With other governments/jurisdictions: YES
Guinea is a member of the Inter Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), a FATF-style regional body. Its most recent mutual evaluation can be found at: http://www.giaba.org/reports/mutual-evaluation/Guinee.html
ENFORCEMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES AND COMMENTS:
Guinea criminalized money laundering in 2007, but the Government of Guinea does not consider money laundering and drug trafficking to be high-priority issues. Although terrorism financing has yet to be criminalized in a way that comports with international standards, draft legislation is pending as of the end of 2013. Many types of entities are covered under the AML law, but its reporting and customer due diligence requirements are neither fully implemented nor properly enforced; and many covered entities are not subject to comprehensive supervision or regulation.
Guinea lacks the resources necessary for the proper surveillance of its porous borders. The situation is worsened by the Economic Community of West African States’ principle of free movement of persons and goods. The country’s openness to the sea and the existence of a large sea port provide a major economic opportunity, but also constitute risks that should be addressed by the authorities. Although some controls exist for cross-border currency tracking, they relate only to customs fraud. Customs officials have no authority to enforce AML/CFT controls. A 2012 law requires the declaration of any funds totaling more than $10,000 being transported across borders.
Although institutions are in place to investigate money laundering and financial irregularities, they are hampered by corruption, political tension, and serious limitations of authority and scope. Guinea’s fledgling financial intelligence unit (FIU), the CENTIF, was established by Presidential decree in October 2013 and is headquartered in the Central Bank, but is not operational as of the end of 2013. CENTIF, an autonomous agency, will eventually be responsible for overseeing all issues relating to money laundering. The small number of suspicious transaction reports (STRs) filed by financial institutions are sent to the Central Bank, where an ad hoc unit continues to have primary responsibility for their analysis and dissemination. The government should move quickly to identify appropriate office space for the CENTIF and hire and train necessary staff so that it can begin to assume its proper functions. The CENTIF committee members were named in the decree and will include representatives of the Ministry of Economy, police, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Security and Civil Protection, Customs, and the Central Bank. Until CENTIF is fully operational, current oversight of money laundering issues is managed by the Director General of the Central Bank in charge of supervising financial institutions.
Corruption within the judiciary as well as funding shortages and ineffective law enforcement make it difficult for Guinea to cooperate fully with foreign governments to combat financial crime. Guinea has been cooperative with U.S. law enforcement efforts, to include ongoing cases with the U.S. Secret Service involving the sale of counterfeit U.S. currency. In August 2013, local police disrupted a small counterfeiting operation, which included the production of $100 notes. Guinean authorities readily passed along all related information to the U.S. Secret Service. Guinea refused a criminal extradition to France in 2007 because of the likely involvement of high-level officials in a Guinean drug shipment seized in France.
Guinea should criminalize money laundering and terrorism financing in line with international standards and devote the resources necessary to implement a comprehensive legal and regulatory framework. Although Guinea has a tipping off provision, it only applies to the subject of an STR; it should be expanded to apply to disclosure to any third person. The government should also strive to staff and train its law enforcement, FIU, judiciary, intelligence, and customs officials to recognize and combat financial crimes, including money laundering. Guinea should become a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and should strengthen its transparency, including by providing regular reporting on the status of the country’s AML/CFT regime.