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Government Ministries are preparing for the evaluation of Tonga’s legal framework to combat money laundering and other crimes

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa ,14/08/2018

The Attorney General’s Office has confirmed that Government Ministries and Agencies are preparing for the evaluation of Tonga’s legal framework to combat money laundering, financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in 2019/2020.

This evaluation will be conducted by the regional body known as the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), which Tonga is a member since 2005.

Tonga first underwent its first mutual evaluation in 2009/2010, and the APG adopted and published the first mutual evaluation report in 2010.

The assessment will involve two parts including Tonga’s technical compliance with the recommended international standards and an assessment of the effectiveness of Tonga implementing its legal framework to combat money laundering, financing of terrorism and proliferation.

Tonga’s efforts will be led by the Cabinet Committee on Money Laundering that was established in 2003, and the preparation for the mutual evaluation which it will be jointly facilitated by the Attorney General’s Office and the National Reserve Bank of Tonga, and supported by other ministries including Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Secretariat of the APG will soon appoint experts from its member countries to conduct the mutual evaluation of Tonga in 2019 and 2020.

The process is expected to end in July 2020 with the adoption of the Mutual Evaluation Report of Tonga during the APG Plenary meeting in September 2020.

The mutual evaluation process is important for Tonga to maintain a good standing in international finance. If Tonga does not do well after the mutual evaluation, international finance with Tonga may be limited or abolished.

The Acting Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecution in a press statement said, the mutual evaluation would involve a lot of work.

He said collaboration and Government support is required to amend the laws, policies and procedures within Government Ministries and Agencies to deliver a good image of Tonga in this area.

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