Justice Minister open to debate whether Attorney General should continue to chair FIAU

The law setting up the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit indicates the Attorney General as chair of the board, something the government is willing to change next year

Attorney General Peter Grech (left) currently occupies the role of chairperson of the FIAU board, a situation Justice Minister Owen Bonnici (right) is ready to re-evaluate when the current term comes to an end next year
Attorney General Peter Grech (left) currently occupies the role of chairperson of the FIAU board, a situation Justice Minister Owen Bonnici (right) is ready to re-evaluate when the current term comes to an end next year

Government is willing to debate whether the Attorney General should stop being a board member of the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit, Owen Bonnici said.

The Justice Minister said he had “an open mind” as to whether the AG should chair the FIAU, a situation that came under strong criticism over the past two years by the Opposition.

Bonnici was speaking in Parliament on Monday as he closed the Second Reading of the debate on the proposed law to split the functions of the AG and create a new state advocate role.

However, Bonnici said the debate on the AG’s link to the FIAU should start closer to the date next March when the current three-year term of the FIAU chair comes to an end.

“This is to ensure the security of tenure of the current FIAU chair, which is the reason why legislators in the past had identified the AG as chairperson of the FIAU,” Bonnici said.

He added: “I have an open mind to start a debate on whether the AG should remain on the board of the FIAU and if not the AG, who should fill that role.”

The AG’s presence on the FIAU board was criticised by civil society groups in the wake of the Panama Papers and other recent controversies invlving money laundering accusations.

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