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FRCS Hosts Landmark WCO TENTACLE AML/CTF Sub-regional Workshop in Fiji

In a significant step towards reinforcing the integrity of trade and financial systems in the Asia-Pacific region, the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (FRCS) is proudly hosting the largest World Customs Organization’s (WCO) Anti-money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) workshop to date. This milestone event, part of the WCO’s TENTACLE-Asia/Pacific Sub-regional Workshop series, took place at the FRCS Headquarters in Suva.

Project TENTACLE is the WCO’s focused initiative against bulk cash smuggling, including the illegal trade of gems and precious metals. The project underscores the commitment of WCO members to bolster efforts in curbing money laundering and terrorism financing within the Customs sphere.

The workshop brings together 74 delegates representing 10 Customs administrations, 6 Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs), 6 Police administrations, as well as representatives from INTERPOL, the EGMONT Group of FIUs and the Regional Liaison Officers in Asia Pacific (RILO AP). The forum is instrumental in augmenting the capacity of participants to fight the laundering of money and financing of terrorism in the customs arena.

While inaugurating the Workshop, FRCS CEO, Mr. Udit Singh described the Workshop as a testament to the collective commitment to safeguarding the integrity of Asia- Pacific sub region’s financial systems and protecting our societies from illicit activities.

According to Mr. Singh, the threats posed by money laundering and terrorism knew no boundaries and he was proud that FRCS had a proactive approach to counter these illicit activities.

“They undermine the stability of economies, fund criminal enterprises, and pose a significant risk to national and international security. As leaders and experts in our respective fields, it is incumbent upon us to work together, share knowledge, and implement best practices to combat these threats head-on,” he said.

Applauding Fiji’s diligent efforts, a WCO representative, acknowledged Fiji’s unwavering dedication to security.

“Customs authorities have an essential role to play in anti-money laundering activities due to their unique positioning at all border areas. The WCO reiterates its commitment to use its expertise to enhance the ability of Asian and Pacific nations to fight money laundering and safeguard the welfare of their people and countries against criminal threats.”

With Customs officers forming the frontline defense at national frontiers, they play a crucial role in impeding the transit of unlawful commodities.

The comprehensive week-long TENTACLE Workshop provided a platform for expert presentations and discussions on numerous facets of anti-money laundering and counterterrorism by WCO AML/CTF experts and country delegates.

The FRCS and the WCO extend their gratitude to all attendees and contributors for their dedication and collaborative spirit. Together, the workshop has laid down a stronger foundation for future endeavors against economic and security threats posed by laundering operations.

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