Governor of the PMA Azzam Shawwa attended the US-MENA Private Sector Dialogue (PSD), titled “Combating Terrorism and Enhancing Relations with Correspondent Banks”. Thanks to the joint collaboration between the Union of Arab Banks (UAB) and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the event took place at the Federal Reserve Bank headquarters in New York. Participating in this international Conference were Arab central banks’ governors and CEOs of banks, as well as policy and decision makers from the financial sector and US officials.
As Chairman of the National AML/CFT Committee, Governor Shawwa delivered a speech in which he presented the most significant efforts made in Palestine to safeguard the economic sectors against exploitation. He noted that through setting a sound policy framework aimed at combating money laundering and terrorism financing, in the financial sector as well as non-financial professions and businesses.
Governor Shawwa added that the most significant of these endeavors was the establishment of the Financial Follow-Up Unit (FFU) in 2004 and the attaining of observer status in the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF) in 2006. In addition, the conditions necessary to create the suitable legal infrastructure for anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing system have been set out, starting with the issuance of the Anti-Money Laundering Decree Law of 2007 -later amended in 2015 to meet the FATF 40 recommendations and pursuant to which the National AML Committee was established-, followed by attaining full FATF membership and, finally, the issuance of the Presidential Decree No. (14) for 2015 on the implementation of the Security Council resolutions, which binds all the banks licensed to operate in Palestine to legislation providing for the implementation of FATF requirements.
As a strategic measure, the Governor elaborated, the PMA has been providing training for related competent authorities so as to promote awareness and build capacities in the field of AML/CFT. The training course targeted bankers, money changers, insurance companies, brokerage firms, law enforcement officers and public prosecutors. Another such measure, he added, was to provide the appropriate technological environment to ensure the effective operation of the Financial Follow-Up Unit through the use of advanced software as comprehensive analytical tools to process data and reports received from the banks and other financial entities.
It is worth mentioning that the Governor of the PMA has headed the Palestinian banking delegation participating in the Annual Meetings of the Board of Governors of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund which took place in Washington DC from 9th to 15th of October . The Annual Meetings discussed the most prominent challenges facing the banking industry, shedding light upon several issues relating to reform in the global financial sector, in particular in emerging markets. Furthermore, the Palestinian delegation attended several meetings with senior US and international officials intended to strengthen bilateral ties and to present the efforts made by the State of Palestine to implement international best practices and standards in the area of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing.