Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak confirmed at the weekend that the Financial Intelligence Office (GIF) will come under his portfolio.
Wong made the statement on the sidelines of a public function on Saturday when asked by the media about the Executive Council’s announcement on the previous day that the office would be moved from the portfolio of Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong Vai Tac to Wong’s portfolio.
Wong said the aim of the move was to ensure that the prevention of, and fight against, financial crimes would become even more efficient. He said that the change in the portfolio overseeing the office was also due to suggestions by international organisations and the experience accumulated by the office since its establishment in 2006.
Wong said that the tasks of the office would remain unchanged.
According to its legal framework, the office is tasked with collecting and assessing information on suspected money laundering (ML) and terrorist financing (TF), passing its findings to the Public Prosecution Office (MP) for possible follow-up action. Since November 2006, the office has been receiving and assessing reports on suspicious transactions and operations.
Macau is as member of the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), which has found the office’s performance in combating money laundering satisfactory, according to previous media reports.
In the field of international cooperation, the office joined the Toronto-based Egmont Group, a body of 159 financial intelligence units (FIUs), in 2009.
The Executive Council – the government’s top advisory body – said in a statement on Friday that the change would take place on the day after the amendment’s publication in the Official Gazette (BO). The council did not say when the amended administrative regulation was slated to be gazetted.