Journal of Money Laundering Control

Emerald Group Publishing Limited
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  • Editorial
  • The feasibility of investment in the religious heritage in anti-corruption efforts in Palestinian public organizations

    Purpose: The purpose of the study is to investigate the feasibility of investing the religious heritage in anti-corruption efforts in public organizations in Palestine. The study sought to measure the current status of public organizations, if they are investing the religious heritage in the efforts of encountering corruption. Further, the study sought to measure the attitudes and future expectations if there is an integration of the religious heritage in the current anti-corruption efforts. Design/methodology/approach: This study combines two folds: First, theoretical and qualitative, through research in previous studies, texts and religious attitude of corruption, historical models and international experiences that have tried to invest in it and incorporate it in anti-corruption efforts, which are generalizable generic models; and the second: a field empirical part, through the researcher use of a questionnaire tool and analyzing it statistically, in addition to ensuring the possibility of using religion in anti-corruption efforts within the Palestinian public institutions which will eventually enable us to answer the study questions. Findings: The study found that the reality of investment in the religious heritage in anti-corruption efforts in the Palestinian public sector is present in a moderate degree (56.8%), both in rules and regulations, in strategic plans or policies, or in the internal systems and the organizational culture of the public institutions. With regard to the attitudes of the employees toward corruption and the way of their formulation to these attitudes either if they are influenced by the religious heritage or the law or by the eight reasons mentioned previously in this study, it is obvious that the employees attitudes toward corruption are formulated first from a religious perspectives and second from a legal perspective. Regarding their attitudes and their agreement level toward the investment of the religious heritage in anti-corruption in the Palestinian public sector was high (75.9%), as well as their future expectations in case the religious heritage is invested in anti-corruption efforts was in a high degree (74.1%). Therefore, the authors conclude that there is a feasibility of religious heritage investment in anti-corruption efforts in the Palestinian public sector in case it is accredited and integrated in anti-corruption strategies as a supportive factor but not as a substitute of other efforts. The study recommended that decision makers should adopt new anti-corruption policies and strategies compatible with these striking results through the rules, regulations and administrative decisions, or in the internal institutional system and the cultural organization, in the publications and declarations of the public institution, in special code of conduct based on the religious heritage, in the training of the employees and designing new proposals to integrate the religious heritage in anti-corruption efforts in parallel with the permanent evaluation of these efforts after its application. Originality/value: This study, The feasibility of investing in religious heritage in anti-corruption efforts, is different from the previously reviewed studies, as the previous studies were either philosophical or theoretical in nature, looking at the relationship between religion and corruption or empirical, but in a different environment and society than the society of this study. The general purpose of this research is to identify the impact of religious perceptions on corruption in the behavior of public officials in the Palestinian public sector as it is on the ground, and whether their attitudes were affected by corruption with their religious beliefs? Do they welcome the investment of religion in the fight against corruption and what are their expectations if this is done in institutional, strategic or policy context.

  • Editorial
  • Confiscation of proceeds of crime in Vietnam: improving the legal framework

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to analyze the Vietnamese laws and practices concerning the confiscation of proceeds of crime, especially in view of Vietnam’s obligations to meet the international standards on money laundering and terrorist financing, set by the Financial Action Task Force and relevant international conventions that Vietnam ratified. To limit the scope of this paper, the analysis focuses on the confiscation of proceeds of domestic crimes that do not require international legal assistance. This paper concludes with recommendations for improving the legal framework on criminal asset recovery in Vietnam. Design/methodology/approach: This is a doctrinal study that considers the applicable legal framework. This study is supported by brief case studies of major cases involving the confiscation of proceeds of crime. Findings: Vietnam has a functioning asset confiscation regime but gaps in the law, lack of financial investigation expertise and lack of focused investigative attention on asset preservation and confiscation are hampering its effectiveness. The key gaps can easily be closed with appropriate amendments to the law. These reforms should be combined with a dedicated skills development program to produce sufficient number of financial investigation experts and criminal asset management experts to support the regime. The training should extend to judicial officers to ensure an appropriate understanding of the asset confiscation law. Reforms such as these should follow on a comprehensive review of Vietnam’s law and practices relating to the confiscation and forfeiture of criminal assets. This review should extend to assets linked to the financing of terrorism and proliferation to ensure that Vietnam has a comprehensive regime to deal with criminal assets. Research limitations/implications: This paper draws on publicly available information regarding the confiscation of proceeds of crime in Vietnam. Little data is available on asset confiscation and that prevents an in-depth assessment of the regime. Originality/value: This paper highlights gaps in the current asset confiscation regime and proposes reforms and approaches that will ensure a more effective asset confiscation regime for Vietnam.

  • A methodology for enterprise-wide risk assessment in small banks and credit union

    Purpose: This paper aims to provide an easy to follow, practical guide for small traditional banks and credit unions to conduct an enterprise-wide risk assessment of the financial institution’s anti-money laundering compliance program. Design/methodology/approach: Information was collected from relevant documents published by global standard setters in the disciplines of anti-money laundering, financial crime prevention and risk management. The data was integrated with common challenges experienced by small financial institutions to produce an application-based guide that practitioners can readily implement. Findings: Though not a new concept, macro-level financial crises and institutional level financial crimes have influenced the rapid evolution of risk management in financial institutions over the past three decades. Small unsophisticated banks and credit unions are expected to now perform an internal risk assessment. An abundance of information is available on risk assessment, but small institutions remain challenged in finding a turnkey document that is readily actionable to stimulate a less arduous undertaking, especially given the institutions’ limited resources. Research limitations/implications: The setting reflects small deposit-taking institutions with traditional services. It is tailored for easy understanding and practical use by the institutions. Originality/value: This could influence small institutions to conduct enterprise-wide risk assessments and formulate and use more specific risk management policies.

  • Analysing the AAOIFI Sharīʿah standard on zakat

    Purpose: The Sharīʿah Standard No. (35) issued by the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) aims to identify the zakāt base for institutions (including Islamic insurance companies) as well as the subsidiary and the mother company of the institution (the company). By zakāt base, the standard means the items of financial statements that should or should not be included in the calculation of the zakāt base, and the liabilities or allocations that should or should not be deducted from zakatable assets. The standard also covers payable zakāt rates, disbursement of zakāt funds on the eight categories of zakāt recipients and the rulings pertaining to disbursement. The focus then is on companies or corporations. There is no indication in the aims as to who owns the wealth of the corporation, that is, whether it is the company itself or it is the shareholders and whether it is treated as a joint wealth of the shareholders or of a single individual in the form of the company. The author will rely on this issue as one factor on the basis of which the standard is to be judged. Design/methodology/approach: Quran and hadith. Works of earlier jurists. Findings: In this study, the author has summarized the provisions of zakāt according to the traditional law, but only those that are relevant for the financial institutions and the standard issued by the AAOIFI. After that, the author mentioned the major points that have been addressed by the standard. In the last section, the author has shown that the rulings of the Islamic Fiqh Academy and the AAOIFI on zakāt are totally confusing and merely a reproduction of the rulings of traditional law. The main reason for this confusion is that the nature and entity of a corporation have not been addressed and have been treated like a partnership, thus, jumbling up the entire issue of zakāt through banks. Originality/value: The main purpose in undertaking this original work is to examine the AAOIFI Sharīʿah Standards from the perspective of traditional Islamic law, that is, the law of the senior schools as laid down in their authentic manuals. If there is an extensive deviation from this law, then this must be pointed out in the hope that it will be corrected by the concerned institution and the banks that adopt these standards. Neglecting such a corrective action for long will result in damage not only to these institutions in the long run but also to the law of Islam that has been so carefully crafted over centuries. The purpose is to show how far this standard deviates from traditional Islamic law and claims to be called the authentic view on a particular subject. Nevertheless, it is not the purpose of this work to explain and elaborate on the meaning and utility of these standards.

  • The effects of illicit financial flows on oil and gas revenue generation in Nigeria

    Purpose: The purpose of this study is to determine the extent illicit flows affect the oil and gas revenue generation in Nigeria specifically the activities concerning oil theft. Design/methodology/approach: A qualitative approach using a systematic quantitative assessment technique was used to select peer-reviewed articles and reports that discussed crude oil theft in Nigeria. This was followed by the use of empirical evidence and content analysis. Findings: Crude oil theft in Nigeria accounts for 10% of illicit financial flows (IFFs) from Africa annually and this amounts to US$6bn annually. Research limitations/implications: Oil theft is a new subject area of public policy and academic research; data, secondary literature and peer-reviewed journal articles are limited. This paper was from the public sector perspective only. Originality/value: This study is one of the few works to highlight the connection between crude oil theft and IFFs.

  • Retooling our anti-corruption arsenals: exploring the potential use of CAQDAS in corruption investigation

    Purpose: This paper aims to explore the potential of computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS) to be used as a corruption investigation tool to help investigators in carrying out their investigative works. Design/methodology/approach: By reviewing the literature on qualitative research and fraud investigation, this exploratory study identifies similarities between the two types of inquiries and thus proposing the use of CAQDAS as an innovation in the field of corruption investigation. To demonstrate how a QDA application can support corruption investigators, NVivo is used as a case study from which various key analytical tools are discussed to highlight their potential in supporting a corruption investigation. Findings: As a fundamental part of anti-corruption practice in a country, corruption investigation must be planned and executed professionally and adequately. This paper highlights various stages in fraud investigation to identify areas that can be improved with the use of a CAQDAS. Based on the discussion in this paper, the author concludes that the capability of a CAQDAS to assist users in data reduction and data display has the potential to increase the effectiveness and efficiency in various stages of a corruption investigation. Research limitations/implications: Based on a self-funded study, this paper only uses a simulation case with a fictitious company to illustrate how a CAQDAS application can be used to support a corruption investigation process. Future studies may benefit from using actual corruption cases in illustrating how such an application can support the investigation process. Practical implications: This paper contributes to the innovation in anti-corruption practice by proposing a new framework and tool to develop corruption investigation capacity. Originality/value: This paper brings a new perspective into the field of anti-corruption to stimulate innovation in the area of corruption investigation.

  • Tackling suspect wealth: towards an accountable and transparent future?

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to provide an empirical comparative analysis on cross-border suspect wealth issues and international efforts to curb corruption-related suspect wealth. Through the lens of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR) Initiative, this paper illustrates the strength and limitations of current anti-corruption frames and as a result, sheds lights on the dilemmas of tackling suspect wealth on the ground. Design/methodology/approach: This paper begins with an overview of the magnitude of suspect wealth; then it compares the focuses of the UNCAC and the StAR Initiative. The author draws upon lessons from previous suspect wealth settlement cases to illustrate the limitations of applying the international frameworks. Finally, this paper takes China as case study to highlight lessons for future anti-corruption efforts. Findings: According to the StAR Initiative, $20–$40bn worth of public assets are stolen via corruption each year, amounting to 20% to 40% of development assistance annually. But the most recent data estimate that the total assets repatriated from OECD countries were $423m from 2006 to 2012, which was only a small fraction of estimated stolen assets. This highlights that tackling suspect wealth not only has moral value but also provides practical benefits for countries seeking development finance. Research limitations/implications: The UNCAC has brought international cooperation and the importance of transparency to the forefront of tackling suspect wealth. It creates an international norm for recovering and repatriating stolen assets. But due to its loose implementation and enforcement, the UNCAC has left loopholes in anti-corruption policymaking, particularly in countries lacking the rule of law. By comparison, the StAR Initiative takes innovative approach such as using insolvency for asset recovery and country-based capacity building to strengthen originating countries’ ability to repatriate assets. Both the UNCAC and the StAR Initiative are well-intended, but authoritarian regimes and weak rule of law often create dilemma for international collaboration. Practical implications: This paper provides recommendations on how to further tackle suspect wealth with existing international frameworks. Social implications: Reducing suspect wealth contributes to society equity and restores public trust by recovering much needed public assets and development resources. Originality/value: This paper illustrates the effect of UNCAC and the StAR Initiative through a comparative lens. It demonstrates how rising authoritarianism can create dilemmas for work against corruption and suspect wealth. Finally, it provides potential policy prescriptions for navigating such dilemmas via shared international efforts.

  • Editorial

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