Role of Customs in Identifying and Combating Trade Based Money Laundering in Guyana Invoice Frauds or Mis-invoicing

Wayne Ahmed Razah

Trade Based Money laundering Techniques and Countering the Financing of Terrorism has been at the forefront of many Governments. The ability to deal in any product type and any market makes it even more difficult to recognize as it subtle co exists with Genuine and legitimate trade. Extreme risk profiling, careful scrutiny and keen observation has been the hall marks of successful law enforcement agencies in their determination to unearth any trade based money laundering scheme. The dependence on nations to foster trade, commerce and other ties, has led money launderers to find any avenue to exploit. Nations that depends heavily on Revenue from imports and also the creation of job and profits from export, have suffered by the penetration of Trade based money laundering schemes. Many nations are stifled by such trade. Trade Based Money laundering is seen as an easy avenue to launder proceeds from the illicit narcotic drug trade. The narcotics dealers and the illicit drug trade abuse genuine trade and commerce, by its ability to generate many seemingly legitimate documents: Receipts, invoices, Bill Of Lading, bill of sale, titles, Export certificate and even products and Commodities. However the greatest suffering and loss to any nation is our valuable human resource, who has at their easy access, almost any type of Narcotic, ranging from Cocaine to heroin, marijuana, hashish etc. and who becomes addicts.

This ready made illegal business allows drug proceeds to be repatriated to the home countries of Drug dealers, even allowing them to procure and purchase almost any commodity money could buy. These items are then imported by the Narcotics dealers, in the form of ‘genuine’ trade. On many occasions these items are even smuggled back home, thus creating even further havoc. By creating a spirit of awareness among its citizens, advising and counseling, paying focus on health and developing the human resource, can create a strength to resist addiction and restrict employment it that trade. Also persons will be more aware and law enforcement can rely heavily on informants to crack many Trade based money laundering schemes, along with their extra vigilance.

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