Tonga strengthen efforts in the fight against financial crimes

The Office of the Attorney General has announced its preparation for the evaluation of Tonga’s legal framework to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The Attorney General’s Office wishes to announce that Government Ministries and Agencies are preparing for the evaluation of Tonga’s legal framework to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

This evaluation will be conducted by the regional body known as the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) in 2019/2020.

Tonga was a member of the Group since 2005.

This includes the Attorney General’s Office, the National Reserve Bank of Tonga, Tonga Police, the Ministry of Revenue and Customs, the Ministry of Commerce, Consumption, Trade, Innovation and Labour, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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

Tonga will be assessed against the internationally accepted standards known as the

Financial Action Task Force’s 40 Recommendations on the International Standards for Combatting Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation, which were revised in 2012, and amended in 2017.

The assessment will involve two parts. First, Tonga’s technical compliance with the recommended international standards. This involves an assessment of Tonga’s legislation and institutional framework, and the powers and procedures of its competent authorites to implement the recoemmended international standards.

The second aspect of the evaluation, is an assessment of the effectiveness of Tonga implementing its legal framework to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism and proliferation in order to mitigate risks that exist within Tonga from money laundering, and terrorist and proliferation financing.

Tonga’s efforts will be led by the Cabinet Committee on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Activities that was established in 2003, and the preparation for the mutual evaluation will be jointly facilitated by the Attorney General’s Office and the National Reserve Bank of Tonga, and supported by the Ministry of Commerce, Consumers, Trade, Innovation and Labour, Ministry of Revenue and Customs, Tonga Police and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Government Ministries and Agencies will also be partnering and relying on the critical support of financial institutions and cash dealers in their understanding and compliance with Tonga’s legal requirements on anti-money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

These include entities such as the commercial banks, money remitters, foreign exchange dealers, insurance companies, charitable trusts, lottery operators, real estate agents, precious metal dealers, lawyers, accountants, auditors, tax advisors, trusts and company service providers, and all entities covered under the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act.

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 assessors will visit Tonga

on a number of occasions to conduct the mutual evaluation, and will emet with both Governement and various private sector representatives to obtain relevant information for the evaluation.

The process is expected to end in July 2020 with the adoption of the Mutual Evalaution Report of Tonga during the APG Plenary meeting, and the subsequent publishing by the APG of that report in September 2020.

The mutual evaluation process is important for Tonga so that it maintains a good standing in international finance, and also establishes that Tonga has a strong reputation of effectively implementing its legal framework on combatting money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

If Tonga does not do well after the mutual evaluation, international finance with Tonga may be limited or abolished, because there will be decreased in credibility of Tonga in combatting these crimes of money laundering, terrrosim and proliferation, which may lead in a decrease of foreign investors investing in Tonga, or a decrease in the establishment of businesses for the employment of Tongans.

In the last APG Plenary meeting that was held in Kathmandu, Nepal on 21 to 27 July 2018, the mutual evaluation report of the Cook Islands was adopted, and it was accepted that the Cook Islands was compliant or largely compliant with 38 of the 40 recommendations. The Acting Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr ‘Aminiasi Kefu, was part of the assessment team that conducted the mutual evaluation of the Cook Islands in 2017/2018, together with five other assessors from Australia, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Peoples’Republic of China and Hong Kong China.

The mutual evaluation report of Vanuatu, which was adopted by the APG Plenary meeting in 2015, was also reviewed by the APG in Kathmandu, Nepal, and the APG Plenary meeting accepted that Vanuatu was compliant or largely compliant on 39 out of the 40 recommendations.

The adoption of the Cook Islands mutual evaluation report and the upgrading of the Vanuatu mutual evaluation report has placed these two Pacific Islands countries as two of the best in the world in implementing the international standards on combatting money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation.

According to the Acting Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecutions the mutual evaluation will involve a lot of work, and so the collaboration and support of Government is required to amend the laws, policies and procedures within Government Minsitries and Agencies, and also the financial institutions and cash dealers, and so he called upon for all these entities to work together to deliver a good image of Tonga in this area.

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  1. FANONGONONGO KI HE MITIA MEI HE ‘OFISI ‘O E ‘ATENI SENIALE “TEUTEU ‘A TONGA KI HONO SIVI’I ‘I HE 2019/2020 ‘A E LAO MO E FOUNGA NGAUE ‘A TONGA KI HONO FAKAFEPAKI’I ‘A E HONO FE’AVE’AKI FAKAPULIPULI ‘A E PA’ANGA KAKAA MO HONO HONO FAKA-PA’ANGA ‘O E NGAUE FAKA-TAUTOITOI MO E TUFAKI ‘A E NGAAHI ME’ATAU ‘OKU
    FAKATUPU ‘A E MAUMAU LAHI” 13 ‘AKOSI 2018

    1 ‘Oku loto ‘a e ‘Ofisi ‘o e ‘Ateni Seniale ke fakaha kuo kamata teuteu ‘a e ngaahi Potungaue ‘a e Pule’anga ki hono sivi’i ‘i he ta’u 2019/2020 ‘a e ngaahi lao mo e founga ngaue ‘a Tonga ni ki hono fakafepaki ‘a hono fe’ave’aki fakapulipuli ‘a e pa’anga kakaa pea mo hono faka-pa’anga ‘a e ngaue faka-tautoitoi pea mo hono tufaki ‘a e ngaahi me’atau ‘oku fakatupu ‘a e maumau lahi.

    2 E fakahoko ‘a e sivi ko ‘eni ‘e he sino faka-feitu’u ‘oku ui ko e Kulupu Fakatahataha ‘o
    ‘Esia Pasifiki ki hono Ta’ofi ‘a e Fe’ave’aki Fakapulipuli ‘a e Pa’anga Kakaa (Asia Pacific Group on Money Laudnering) (APG), ‘a ia ‘oku memipa ai ‘a Tonga talu mei he 2005.

    3 ‘Oku kau ki he ngaahi Potungaue ni ‘a e ‘Ofisi ‘o e ‘Ateni Seniale, Pangike Pule Fakafonua ‘o Tonga, Kau Polisi Tonga, Potungaue Tanaki Tukuhau mo e Kasitomu, Potungaue ki he Komeesi, Konisiuma, Fefakatau’aki, ‘Ilo Fo’ou mo e Ngaue ‘a e Kakai pea mo e Potungaue ki he Ngaahi Ngaue ki Muli.

    4 Na’e ‘uluaki sivi’i ‘a e ngaahi lao mo e founga ngaue ‘a Tonga ‘i he ta’u 2009/2010, pea na’e tali mo pulusi ‘e he APG ‘a e lipooti hono sivi’i ‘a e ngaahi lao mo e founga ngaue
    ‘a Tonga ‘i he 2010.

    5 ‘E sivi’i ‘a Tonga ‘o fakatatau pea mo e ngaahi makatu’unga kuo ‘osi tali faka-mamani lahi ‘oku ui ko e Ngaahi Fokotu’u ‘e Fa-ngofulu (40) ‘a e Sino Ngaue ki he Ngaahi Ngaue Faka-Pa’anga ki hono Fakafepaki’i ‘a e Fe’ave’aki Fakapulipuli ‘a e Pa’anga Kakaa pea mo hono Faka-pa’anga ‘a e Ngaue Faka-Tautoitoi mo e Tufaki ‘a e Ngaahi Me’atau ‘oku Fakatupu ‘a e Maumau Lahi (Financial Action Task Force’s 40 Recommendations on the
    International Standards on Combatting Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation), ‘a ia na’e liliu fo’ou ‘i he ta’u 2012, pea to e fakatonutonu
    ‘i he ta’u 2017.

    6 Ko e founga sivi ‘e konga ‘e ua. ‘Uluaki, ‘e sivi’i ‘a e tu’unga faka-tekinikale ‘a Tonga ‘o fakatatahi pea mo e Ngaahi Fokotu’u Faka-mamani Lahi. ‘E sivi heni ‘a e tukunga ‘oku ‘i ai ‘a e ngaahi lao pea mo e fokotu’utu’u faka-Potungaue, pea pehe ki he ngaahi mafai mo e ngaahi founga ngaue ‘oku ngaue’aki ‘e he ngaahi ma’u mafai ki hono fakahoko ‘a e Ngaahi Fokotu’u Faka-mamani Lahi.

    7 Ko e konga hono ua ‘a e sivi, ko hono vakai’i ‘a e ola ‘a hono fakahoko ‘e he kau ma’u mafai ‘i Tonga ni ‘a e ngaahi lao pea mo e ngaahi founga ngaue ki hono fakafepaki’i ‘a e fe’ave’aki fakapulipuli ‘a e pa’anga kakaa pea mo hono faka-pa’anga ‘a e ngaue fakatautoitoi pea mo hono tufaki ‘a e ngaahi me’atau ‘oku fakatupu maumau lahi, ke malava ai ke faka-si’isi’i ‘a e ngaahi fakatu’utamaki ‘oku ‘i Tonga ni mei hono fe’ave’aki fakapulipuli ‘a e pa’anga kakaa pea mo hono faka-pa’anga ‘a e ngaue faka-tautoitoi mo hono tufaki ‘a e ngaahi me’atau ‘oku fakatupu ‘a e maumau lahi.

    8 Ko e teuteu ki he sivi ‘e tataki ia ‘e he Komiti ‘o e Kapineti ki hono Fe’ave’aki
    Fakapulipuli ‘a e Pa’anga Kakaa pea mo hono Faka-Pa’anga ‘a e Ngaue Faka-Tautoitoi, ‘a ia na’e fokotu’u ‘e he Kapineti ‘i he 2003, pea ‘e fakahoko faktaha ‘a e ngaue ki he sivi ‘e he ‘Ofisi ‘o e ‘Ateni Seniale pea mo e Pangike Pule Faka-Fonua ‘o Tonga, pea poupou ki ai ‘a e Kau Polisi Tonga, Potungaue Tanaki Tukuhau mo e Kasitomu, Potungaue ki he Komeesi, Konisiuma, Fefakatau’aki, ‘Ilo Fo’ou mo e Ngaue ‘a e Kakai pea mo e Potungaue ki he Ngaahi Ngaue ki Muli.

    9 Kuopau foki ke ngaue fakataha pea fakafalala ‘a e ngaahi Potungaue ko ‘eni ‘a e
    Pule’anga ki he poupou mahu’inga ‘a e ngaahi sino ‘i he sekitoa taautaha ke ma’u ‘enau ‘ilo ‘a kinautolu takitaha pea mo ‘enau fakahoko ‘a e ngaahi lao mo e tu’utu’uni ‘i Tonga ni fekau’aki pea mo hono fakafepaki ‘a e fe’ave’aki fakapulipuli ‘a e pa’anga kakaa pea hono faka-pa’anga ‘a e ngaue faka-tautoitoi mo hono tufaki ‘a e ngaahi me’atau ‘oku fakatupu ‘a e maumau lahi.

    10 ‘Oku kau ki heni ‘a e ngaahi kautaha pa’anga (financial institutions) pea mo e ngaahi kautaha faifakatau pa’anga (cash dealers). ‘Oku kau ki heni ‘a e ngaahi pangike komesiale, ngaahi kautaha talafi pa’anga, ngaahi kautaha fetongi pa’anga muli, ngaahi kautaha malu’i, ngaahi talasiti ‘ofa, ngaahi kautaha faka-lele ‘o e ngaahi pale lulu, ngaahi kautaha ki he ngaahi ‘api nofo totongi, ngaahi kautaha ‘oku nau fefakatau’aki ‘a e ngaahi maka-koloa mahu’inga, kau fakafofonga lao, kau ‘akauniteni, kau ‘atita, kau fale’i totongi tukuhau, kau fale’i ki hono fokotu’u ‘a e ngaahi talasiti mo e ngaahi kautaha, pea mo e ngaahi sino kotoa ‘oku ha ‘i he Lao ki hono Fe’ave’aki Fakapulipuli ‘o e Pa’anga Kakaa mo e Ngaahi Koloa ‘oku Ma’u mei he Hia (Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act)

    11 ‘E vave ni ‘a hono fokotu’u ‘e he Va’a Faka-Sekelitali ‘a e APG ‘a e kau taukei mei hono ngaahi fonua memipa kenau fakahoko ‘a hono sivi’i ‘a e lao mo e founga ngaue ‘a Tonga ‘i he 2019 pea mo e 2020. ‘E ‘a’ahi mai ki Tonga ni ‘a e kau taukei ko ‘eni ‘i he ngaahi taimi kehekehe ke fakahoko ‘a e sivi, pea te nau fakataha pea mo e kau fakafofonga mei he Pule’anga mo e ngaahi kautaha taautaha kehekehe ke tanaki ‘a e ngaahi fakamatala
    ‘aonga ke fakahoko’aki ‘a e sivi.

    12 ‘Oku ‘amanaki ke kakato ‘a e ngaue ni ‘i Siulai 2020 ‘aki hono tali ‘a e Lipooti ki hono Sivi’i ‘a Tonga ni lolotonga ‘a e Fakataha Lahi ‘a e APG, pea mo hono pulusi ‘e he APG
    ‘a e lipooti ko ia ‘i Sepitema 2020.

    13 Ko e founga sivi ni ‘oku mahu’inga ‘aupito ia ki Tonga ni ke malava ke pukepuke ‘a hono tu’unga falalala’anga ‘i he fefakatau’aki faka-pa’anga faka-mamani lahi, pea pehe ki hono fokotu’u ‘a hono ongoongo ko e fonua ni ‘oku malohi ‘a hono fakahoko ‘a e ngaahi lao mo e ngaahi founga ngaue ke fakafepaki ‘a e fe’ave’aki fakapulipuli ‘a e pa’anga kakaa mo hono faka-pa’anga ‘a e ngaue faka-tautoitoi mo hono tufaki ‘a e ngaahi me’atau ‘oku fakatupu maumau lahi.

    14 Kapau ‘e ‘ikai ke ola lelei ‘a hono sivi’i ‘a Tonga ni, ‘e malava ke faka-ngatangata pe ta’ofi ‘a e fefakatau’aki pa’anga faka-mamani lahi mo Tonga ni, koe’uhi ko e si’isi’i ‘a e falala ‘oku fakafepaki fe’unga ‘e Tonga ni ‘a e ngaahi hia ko’eni ko hono fe’ave’aki fakapulipuli ‘a e pa’anga kakaa, pea mo e faka-pa’anga ‘a e kau tautoitoi pea mo e tufaki ‘a e ngaahi me’atau ‘oku fakatupu maumau lahi, pea ‘e malava foki ke holo pe mole mei Tonga ni ‘a e ha’u ha kau invesitoa mei muli ‘o fakahu mai ‘enau pa’anga ke faka-tupu
    ‘i Tonga ni, pe fokotu’u ha ngaahi pisinisi ke ma’u ngaue ai ‘a e kakai ‘i Tonga ni.

    15 ‘I he fakataha lahi fakamuimui ‘a e APG na’e fakahoko ki Kathmandu, Nepal ‘ he ‘aho 21 ki he 27 Siulai 2018, na’e tali ai ‘a e lipooti na’e fa’u ki hono sivi’i ‘a e ‘Otu Motu Kuki, pea na’e fakapapau’i ai ‘oku malava ‘e he ‘Otu Motu Kuki ‘o fakahoko kakato pe fakahoko ‘a e konga lahi ‘a e ngaahi fokotu’u faka-mamani lahi ‘e 38 mei he ngaahi fokotu’u faka-mamani lahi ‘e 40. Na’e kau atu ‘a e ‘Ateni Seniale Le’ole’o pea mo Talekita ki he Ngaahi Talatalaaki Hia ‘o e Pule’anga, ‘Aminiasi Kefu, ‘i he taha ‘a e kau fai-sivi ‘e toko ono na’e fokotu’u mei ‘Aositelelia, Fisi, Ha’amoa, Tonga, Lepapulika ‘o e Kakai Siaina mo Siaina Hong Kong.

    16 Na’e to e vakai’i foki ‘i he fakataha lahi ‘a e APG ‘i Kathmandu, Nepal mo e lipooti ‘a Vanuatu, ‘a ia na’e tali ‘e he APG ‘i he ta’u 2015, pea na’e tali ai ‘e he fakataha lahi ke fakatonutonu ‘a e hono sivi’i ‘a Vanuatu ‘o tali ai ‘oku fakahoko kakato pe fakahoko ‘a e konga lahi ‘e Vanuatu ‘a e ngaahi fokotu’u faka- mamani lahi ‘e 39 mei he ngaahi fokotu’u faka-mamani lahi ‘e 40.

    17 Ko e tali ko’eni ‘a e lipooti ‘a e ‘Otu Motu Kuki pea mo e hono fakatonutonu ‘a e lipooti ‘a Vanuatu, ‘oku ne ‘ohake ai ‘a e ongo fonua ko’eni ‘o e Pasifiki ki he tu’ukimu’a ‘a hono fakahoko ‘a e ngaahi fokotu’u faka-mamani lahi ki hono fakafepaki ‘a e fe’ave’aki fakapulipuli ‘a e pa’anga kakaa pea hono faka-pa’anga ‘a e ngaue faka-tautoitoi mo hono tufaki ‘a e ngaahi me’atau ‘oku ne fakahoko ‘a e maumau lahi.

    18 Na’e pehe ‘e he ‘Ateni Seniale Leo’ole’o mo e Talekita ki he Ngaahi Talatalaaki Hia ‘o e Pule’anga ko e ngaue lahi ‘aupito ‘oku fiema’u ke fakahoko, pea ‘e fiema’u lahi ‘a e ngaue fakataha mo e popou ‘a e Pule’anga ke fakalelei’i ‘a e ngaahi lao pea pehe ki he ngaahi tu’utu’uni mo e founga ngaue ‘I he ngaahi Potungaue ‘a e Pule’anga pea pehe ki he ngaahi kautaha pa’anga mo e ngaahi kautaha fefakatau’aki pa’anga, pea ‘oku ne kole mo tautapa ki he ngaahi sino ni kenau ngaue fakataha ke ha lelei ai ‘a Tonga ni ‘i he ngaue ni.

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