MoneyGram blocks foreign funding for Norton’s PNC leadership bid

…cries foul despite status as “Politically Exposed Person” created by APNU/AFC in AML law

People’s National Congress Reform (PNC R) leadership contender Aubrey Norton is crying foul after a transaction at a MoneyGram location was delayed because he is considered a Politically Exposed Person (PEP).

PNCR leadership contender Aubrey Norton

A PEP, as defined by the Anti Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Act, includes politicians and those closely associated with them. According to the law, such persons are high risk customers for financial institutions and susceptible to corruption. As such, the AML/CFT Act spells out the need for caution when conducting business with PEPs and for transactions to be reported.
The Act was in fact passed in June 2015, under the former A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government. Despite this, Norton in a social media post alleged he was discriminated against by MoneyGram just because of his political affiliation.
“I have consistently heard that MoneyGram questions persons on their political affiliation when they seek to receive money that is sent for them… I had my own experience with political discrimination at MoneyGram this morning. I went to a MoneyGram location. I gave the cashier the reference number which she placed in the computer.”
“She immediately said you are Aubrey Norton a political figure I can’t [give] you any money since headquarters has to approve before I can pay you. She proceeded to tell me this is so because I am a political figure. I believe my right was violated and it needs to be in the public domain. No business should discriminate against anyone based on political affiliation,” Norton said in his post.
Calls to MoneyGram by this publication was met by an automated system.
The law that APNU/AFC passed in 2015 has long been described by the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) as deficient. So much so that now in power, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has identified a legislative agenda in order to remedy the deficiencies in the AML/CFT Act and related legislation as identified by the National Risk Assessment (NRA).
Earlier this year, Attorney General Anil Nandlall had noted the importance of the assessment related to the oil and gas sector, as Guyana has become an oil-producing nation, it is critical to ensure that the AML/CFT apparatus is adequate in addressing the risks and threats that Guyana may face.
The Attorney General had further outlined that the Government of Guyana has boosted the prosecutorial capacity with a view to improving the effectiveness of investigations, prosecutions and convictions.
It was only on Friday that Norton had taken part in the party’s Nomination Day activities, alongside other leadership contenders Dr Richard Van West-Charles and incumbent Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon.
PNCR’s 21st biennial congress is set for December, where the election will be facilitated. Nomination Day allowed for groups within the party to select the leader, chairman, two vice chairpersons, treasurer and 15 members of the Central Executive Committee who they will vote for on the Election Day.
The PNCR – the leading party in the APNU/AFC coalition Opposition – has been embroiled in an internal divisive power struggle since the party’s loss at the 2020 General and Regional Elections.
Hence, there was mounting pressure for congress to be held to elect new leadership, including incumbent PNCR Leader, former President David Granger, who did not contest for the post.
At the party’s last biennial congress in 2018, Granger was re-elected leader after the post was uncontested.