FIJI
Summary
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Sanctions

No

FAFT AML Deficient

No

Higher Risk Areas

 

Not on EU White list equivalent jurisdictions

World Governance Indicators (Average Score)

Failed States Index (Political Issues)(Average Score)

Medium Risk Areas

Compliance with FATF 40 + 9 Recommendations

Weakness in Government Legislation to combat Money Laundering

Corruption Index (Transparency International & W.G.I.)

 

 

ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING

 

FATF Status

Fiji is not on the FATF List of Countries that have been identified as having strategic AML deficiencies

 

Compliance with FATF Recommendations

The last Mutual Evaluation Report relating to the implementation of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing standards in Fiji was undertaken by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in 2016. According to that Evaluation, Fiji was deemed Compliant for 7 and Largely Compliant for 10 of the FATF 40 Recommendations.

Key Findings

Fijiís National Anti-Money Laundering Council (NAMLC), consists of a number of government agencies and is the principle agency through which Fiji coordinates AML/CFT policies and strategies. The cooperation and coordination between the relevant agencies through NAMLC platform is generally reasonable except in relation to ML investigations and prosecutions where significant improvement is needed. The cooperation and coordination is not comprehensive as Fiji has yet to put in place any mechanism for cooperation and coordination of policies and activities to combat the financing of proliferation in Fiji.

Generally, Fiji has a reasonable understanding of its ML and TF risks. But, there are gaps in Fijiís understanding of its ML/TF risks because an assessment of risk relating to all types of legal persons, foreign investment, and cross-border transportation of currency and BNIs relating to transit passengers on cruise ships is lacking. In addition, the primary focus of the NRA (as a reflection of that understanding) was on ML. TF was of limited focus only. Fiji also lacks a comprehensive national strategy informed by its understanding of risks to combat ML and TF.

Fijiís principal proceeds generating crimes are drugs and drug-trafficking, fraud on the government (i.e. direct and indirect tax crimes) and corruption. Fiji is also a transit and destination point for drugs. According to Fiji the banking sector, foreign exchange dealers, real estate agents and legal persons are highly vulnerable to ML. The NPO sector is considered to have high vulnerability to terrorism financing due to global concerns.

TF risks are rated low in Fijiís NRA. However Fiji does not take a holistic approach in dealing with terrorism and terrorist financing threats and risks. One case in Fiji involving a listed entity under UNSCR 1267 highlights that TF risks are real. No agency has been identified to deal with, coordinate and develop TF policy.

Fiji lacks a comprehensive legislative framework to implement targeted financial sanctions including the identification of a competent authority. Fiji has not implemented measures against PF and does not have a legal framework or processes for implementing UNSCRs 1718 and 1737. Fijian authorities do not systematically disseminate UN notices on PF to financial institutions or DNFBPs.

Fijiís FIU has an excellent understanding of the AML/CFT environment in Fiji and provides good quality intelligence to law enforcement agencies on a range of predicate crimes and ML, including its high risk crime types. The FIU and other competent authorities regularly exchange information and financial intelligence. However, capacity, capability and resource limitations undermine and limit the ability of the Fiji Police Force (FPF) to effectively respond to that intelligence. The Fiji Revenue and Customs Agency (FRCA) and the Fiji Independent Commission on Corruption (FICAC) (with similar resource limitations) respond to financial intelligence more effectively. Neither agency investigates ML offences and neither pursues confiscation action; nor do they refer ML issues to the FPF.

While Fiji has a full suite of forfeiture mechanisms to target profit and property derived from crime, forfeiture outcomes are modest and do not reflect an effective implementation of confiscation mechanisms. FPF, FRCA, FICAC and the ODPP lack resources as well as a combined focus to target criminal proceeds.

DNFBPs generally do not have a good understanding of the risks in their sectors despite outreach by the FIU. Awareness among DNFBPs of the FTR Act and FTR Regulations as well as AML/CFT guidelines is very low. Some DNFBPs have no understanding of their obligations at all. And, many of the CDD and other measures in the FTR Act are unenforceable and all of the measures in the FTR Regulations are unenforceable due to absence of sanctions and penalties.

The Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) conducts on-site inspections of financial institutions (banks, credit institutions, insurance companies, foreign exchange dealers, moneychangers and the capital market intermediaries). The RBFís supervision activities in the past have been largely related to its prudential responsibility, however since 2014 the RBF has conducted AML/CFT-focused compliance assessments on three banks, one credit institution, two unit trusts, nine Restricted Foreign Exchanged Dealers (RFEDs) and two moneychangers and provided feedback in this regard. Fiji allows for AML/CFT supervision (by the FIU) of most DNFBPs, but no on-site supervision visits have occurred.

Fiji has not undertaken an adequate ML/TF risk assessment of all forms of legal persons and legal arrangements. Authorities acknowledge that legal persons and arrangements in Fiji, can be used to facilitate predicate crimes and ML/TF offences. Fiji laws on the collection of beneficial ownership information is limited. Competent authorities do face challenges in obtaining beneficial ownership information. Fiji has recognised this and (following the on-site visit) a new Companies Act came into force.

On international cooperation (both formal and informal) requests by Fiji do not match its ML and TF risk profile. While the FIU cooperates very well on an informal basis other agencies are not as robust. Moreover in relation to formal cooperation there are few outgoing MLA requests and no extradition requests in the last seven years. Fiji cannot exchange anything more than basic beneficial ownership information in relation to companies and trusts.

Risks and General Situation

Fiji faces a range of ML and TF threats and vulnerabilities. It has identified banking, foreign exchange dealers, real estate agents and legal persons (in particular, companies) as highly vulnerable to ML. The NPO sector (which consists of a large number of NPO entities) is considered to have high vulnerability to terrorism financing due to global concerns even though the TF risks in Fiji are rated as low. However, like the real estate sector, the NPO sector is not subject to supervision or monitoring by authorities.

Drug and tax offences (including other forms of fraud against the government) generate the largest and most significant amount of illegal proceeds in Fiji. Fijiís ML/TF risks involve cross-border illicit flows. In relation to drug offences, Fiji is a transit and destination point for drugs. Fiji is also a source of illicit drugs manufacturing and exportation. Based on publicly available and reliable independent sources of information corruption, especially within the public service, even though assessed in the NRA as ďmoderateĒ in terms of producing illegal proceeds for ML, is considered a significant issue.

Factors such as Fijiís strategic geographic location in the South Pacific, porous borders, cash intensive economy, technology constraints and limited expertise within certain relevant agencies, escalate Fijiís vulnerabilities to ML/TF risks. However, the NRA concluded that Fiji is not exposed to any significant ML/TF risks.

Regardless of past political turmoil and instability, the structural elements, including high-level commitment to address Fijiís AML/CFT issues required for an effective AML/CFT system, are in place. However, political commitment to implement targeted financial sanctions related to terrorism, terrorism financing and proliferation financing is currently lacking.

Fiji has trade relationships with Iran and the Democratic Peopleís Republic of Korea. However, while general customs prohibitions applicable to all countries apply to all imports and exports, with respect to these two countries, there are no special licences or conditions applicable to imports from and exports to these destinations in light of relevant UN sanctions requirements.

 

APG Yearly Typologies Report - 2015

Emerging Trends; Declining Trends; Continuing Trends (INCSR)

Emerging Trends

- Email Spoofing - The target has been local business entities that purchase goods and services from overseas. There had been unauthorised access of emails between the local business entity and their supplier overseas. The local business entity will eventually be advised through the unauthorised access that due to some unknown reasons the supplierís bank account overseas had changed and that they need to immediately send the money to new bank account.

- It has been established that the new bank accounts do not belong to the supplier but to those who had gained unauthorised access to the emails and redirected the payment.

Declining Trends:

- Use of false identification - The FIU has noted a decrease in the number of cases involving fake identification cards such as passports and birth certificates. This is due to some recent measures undertaken by the relevant authorities in Fiji.

- Use of a minorís bank account to deposit funds.

Continuing Trends:

- Currency smuggling is a continuing trend for Fiji. A number of cases were identified where travellers have failed to declare cash of $10,000 and above when arriving into or departing Fiji.

- There were 16 cases of persons brought before the court for failing to declare currency in 2013. In 2014, there were 7 cases of failure to declare at the border by travellers. Some of the cases reported relate to cross-border between Fiji and other Pacific Island countries.

 

US Department of State Money Laundering assessment (INCSR)

Fiji was deemed a ĎMonitoredí Jurisdiction by the US Department of State 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR).

Key Findings from the report are as follows: -

 

The Republic of Fiji is a small island state with a population of less than one million. It has significant natural resources and is among the most developed of the Pacific island nations. It is not a regional financial center but serves as a regional hub for transportation and shipping for other Pacific island nations. Currently, there are no operating casinos.

Fijiís geographical location makes it a potential staging point for criminal activities in Australia and New Zealand. Cross-border criminal gangs involving individuals from Asian countries are alleged to operate in Fiji.

To encourage investment and create economic opportunities in Fijiís rural Northern and Maritime Island regions, the government declared certain areas as tax free regions. Benefits include a multi-year corporate tax holiday and import duty exemption on raw materials, machinery, and equipment for initial setup. There is also a tax free region in the North East of Viti Levu targeting agriculture, dairy, and other new investments.

 

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SANCTIONS

There are no longer any Australian or New Zealand sanctions in place against Fiji

 

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BRIBERY & CORRUPTION

 

Index

Rating (100-Good / 0-Bad)

Transparency International Corruption Index

N/A

World Governance Indicator Ė Control of Corruption

57

 

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INVESTMENT CLIMATE - Executive Summary (US State Department)

Fiji is a republic, with a population of approximately 874,700 and an estimated GDP of US$3.9 billion (F$7.18 billion). It is classified as an upper middle income economy by the World Bank. The government welcomes foreign investments and assures investors that Fiji is a safe place to do business. However, in light of political events in Fiji and concerns about the treatment of some established foreign investors by Fiji authorities, potential investors should exercise considerable caution.

The country has been under a military-led government since armed forces commander Commodore Josaia Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama overthrew the elected government in a bloodless coup in 2006. In 2009 the interim government headed by Prime Minister Bainimarama abrogated the existing constitution, imposed a state of emergency, and continued its rule by decree. On September 6, 2013 the government promulgated a new constitution. National elections, as announced by the Prime Minister during his budget address in November 2013, are expected to take place in September 2014.

The easing of diplomatic relations with international partners and the progress towards elections has improved investor confidence. Foreign investment increased, with the number of investment applications in the first three quarters of 2013 expanding by 96 percent compared to the same period in 2012. Total investment in 2013 is expected to be at 28.2 percent of GDP, although the 2013 numbers have not yet been publically released.

The Fiji government expects a 3.0 percent growth in the economy in 2014, following a strong performance of 3.6 percent in 2013. A number of large construction projects, boosting employment and economic activity, and rising private sector investments are expected to support growth in 2014. To stimulate growth in agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, information communication technology and audio-visual activities, and in isolated rural/ maritime regions, the government is offering industry-specific tax incentives, including tax holidays and import duty exemptions on equipment and raw materials. The financial system is stable and the central bank relaxed a number of foreign exchange controls. Typically large payments of investment profits and capital still require approval.

Fijiís total land mass is roughly 11,352 square miles. The land situation in Fiji is complex. Eight percent is freehold; the rest, indigenous and government land, can only be leased. Natural disasters and extensive flooding have caused extensive damage and hampered economic growth in the recent past. The annual cyclone season usually runs from November to April.

In 2014, government is expected to sell a number of its blue-chip public assets to raise an estimated US$271 million (F$500 million). Tourism, Fijiís largest foreign exchange earner and fastest growing industry, continues to present opportunities for foreign investment.