By Toby Mann, Australian Associated Press
A federal government body that administers $5 billion of public dollars could be in danger of flouting anti-money laundering laws, environmental advocates say.
Environmental Justice Australia says the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) has still not published an anti-money laundering policy, despite being contacted about one in 2016.
A year later, in October 2017, NAIF told a budget estimates hearing it was in “advanced stages” of developing a policy, but has yet to release one, which EJA says risks running foul of anti-money laundering laws.
NAIF is yet to allocate funding for any projects.
EJA says without a formal policy, NAIF can’t be sure it is in compliance with laws under which it must report reasonable suspicions an application for a loan is in preparation for a money laundering offence.
“It is not best practice,” the group’s spokesman David Barnden told AAP on Thursday.
“The board can’t be certain that the law is being complied with,” he said.
The failure to publish an anti-money laundering policy raises questions about whether NAIF, which has been operating for 18 months, has adequate governance procedures, he said.
“From the outset NAIF should have had appropriate systems and controls in order to determine whether loan inquiries might give rise to an obligation to report suspicious activity to AUSTRAC,” he said.
Comment has been sought from NAIF.
This AAP story was published by The Australian on 1 February 2018