28 Jul 2009

Central Bank of Samoa begins inquiry into PNG govt minister's land transactions

11:07 am on 28 July 2009

The Central Bank of Samoa or CBS has instigated an inquiry into real estate transactions by the Papua New Guinea Minister of Forests, Belden Namah.

The bank's Governor, Leasi Papali'i Scanlan, told the Samoa Observer his office has advised the Attorney General's Office to look into launching an investigation into whether money laundering was involved in the transactions.

Leasi says the move is necessary in protecting Samoa's integrity.

He told the Samoa Observer the decision was based on relevant reports from the bank through which funds involved in the transactions had been channeled.

He added that under the Money Laundering Prevention Act 2007, all money remittances of over 30,000 US dollars should be reported to the Central Bank by the banks.

Leasi confirmed that the funds were not from individuals but were from a company offshore.

The local bank involved has been told to to go back to the people it received the funds from to find out if its was laundered funds or not.

Leasi says the Central Bank was undertaking its "due diligence" responsibilities and it expected all local banks to undertake theirs.