JAMBAR wrote to the General Legal Council (GLC) expressing certain concerns and questions in relation to the Risk Assessment Questionnaire recently issued to Attorneys-at-Law who in the last year engaged in one or more of the six DNFI activities subject to the regulated regime. The GLC responded promptly and accepted JAMBAR’s request for a meeting to discuss these concerns.
Arising from that meeting JAMBAR issues this statement in support of the mandate of the GLC as Competent Authority and the compliance of the profession with the POCA/TPA Regime that is now in place.
- All Attorneys who have not yet submitted the Questionnaire should immediately do so. Not submitting the Questionnaire by the deadline will be a failure to comply with the directions of the Competent Authority and a breach of the Proceeds of Crime Act.
- Attorneys who fail to submit the Questionnaire will be ranked high risk and will likely be subject to inspection by the GLC to assess their level of compliance with the POCA requirements when that process starts in September 2023.
- Adopting the GLC Guidance dated May 2023, posted on the GLC’s website, will ensure that the Attorney has policies that comply with the requirements of the POCA regime.
- The terms used in the Questionnaire are, in the main, defined and explained in the GLC Guidance.
- The Questionnaire seeks responses in respect of activities carried out during the 12 months between July 2022 to July 2023 and, save for general questions as to overall revenues, is limited to only those clients/files that fall under one or more of the six DNFI activities.
- The responses to the Questionnaire will be used to assess the risk profile of the individual practice and the legal profession as a whole.
- The Questionnaire is administered by AML Analytics, a UK based firm. Responses to the Questionnaire are treated confidentially and are not seen by the GLC staff or GLC members.
- The GLC will receive from AML Analytics the ratings of Attorneys based on the responses to the Questionnaire and which will inform next steps.
- The deadline for the responses to the Questionnaire is necessary for compliance with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and to reduce the risk of Jamaica being placed on the FATF blacklist, which would have a catastrophic effect on the financial and legal sectors of Jamaica.
- JAMBAR has requested and obtained the GLC’s approval for an extension of the deadline to August 8, 2023 and will be formally confirming this.
- If you are unsure about any responses to the Questionnaire, consult with a senior member of the GLC or JAMBAR.
- We understand that the GLC should be issuing a statement addressing some of the issues JAMBAR raised with it.
JAMBAR will host a Virtual Town Hall Meeting on Monday, July 31, 2023 at 5:00 pm to try to address any concerns that Attorneys may have in relation to the Questionnaire.
Let us work together to ensure the best outcome for us all.
COUNCIL OF THE JAMAICAN BAR ASSOCIATION