Remittances and connection with money laundering [Archives:2003/673/Business & Economy]

October 2 2003

By Ahmed Ismael al-Bawab
For the Yemen Times

It is unexpected or difficult to assume that the Yemeni government financial institutions do not deal with regional, Arab and international changes and events with all their aspects, whether at present or in future. By such a stand Yemen proceeds from it realization of the status it is occupying on the world map. It could be presumed that the most prominent and big role Yemen can p0lay in this respect is fighting the operation of money laundering. For this reason the Yemeni government has issued a law of money laundering in 2003. The law contained 24 articles distributed over eight chapters. The first chapter gives definitions and designations, the second, crimes of money laundering, third, duties of financial institutions, fourth the committee on fighting money laundering, fifth international cooperation, exchange of information and handing over the Yemenis, sixth investigation and trial, seventh the punishments and the eighth general regulations.
The Central Bank of Yemen and the Institute for banking Studies have organized a workshop on fighting money laundering on the 6th of September 2003 attended by a host of officials and employees of financial and banking establishments and media men, in addition to others interested in this matter. The most prominent decisions the workshop participants have come out with are the founding of joint information network between the Central Bank and other Yemeni banks for following up suspected amounts of money, locally and internationally. The workshop has also called for coordination between the administration of audition affiliate of banks and financial establishments and the unit for gathering information at the Central Bank, training employees at financial establishments and banks on fighting money laundering.
Here it is important to understand the relationship between the money remittance and money laundering. Remittance is a complementary system dating back deeply in the Middle East and the India and has been used for hundreds of years and still. It is used as a legitimate way for investing money in commerce and businesses. It is therefore logical for those carrying out illegal activities, such as traders in weapons and drugs and public property plunderers to use this system for remitting their money between countries because it is a system known and familiar. It does more over constitute part of the cultural, social and economic life of various expatriates. Originally the money remittance system is not illegitimate but it becomes so only when money is used for supporting terrorist cells and illegitimate activities or when this regime violates regulations of money and the system of money remittance through providing for such dealers a certain cover making them unidentified and consequently keeping them behind the scenes. Money remittance system is in essence based on not leaving any papers that can be used for detection and can be used by those entrusted with bringing evidence when it is necessary for following up the transfer movement of money or tracing it.
At any rate the remittance is originally an Indian term meaning trust and is categorized as a system built on strengthening relations between parties of the sector of trade and business through the banks and financial institutions and exchange bureaus as well as dealers who have taken this operation as a profession for many generations.