Tunisia is a country through which large quantities of gold transit to Turkey and other Asian countries where it is being handcrafted then routed to neighbouring countries through the Tunisian territory, the Tunisian Financial Analysis Committee (CTAF) revealed.
In this respect, the illegal gold transit routes between Turkey and Tunisia are very active and the quantity of gold illegally transiting via Tunisia has reached 19.4 tonnes between 2012 and 2014.
In its report entitled: “National evaluation of money laundering and terrorism financing risks/April 2017”, the CTAF further stressed the need to implement an anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing procedure guide in the banking sector and non-financial jobs before the end of 2017 given the scale of cases related to precious metals trafficking whose seized quantities (gold) has reached 43 kg in 2015. They are valued at 15.387 million Tunisian dinars.
The CTAF spoke of overruns related to marketing gold mixed with copper, iron and other materials, falsifying marker’s mark and non-compliance with the different standards of gold measurement and sale to individuals.
The gold sector in Tunisia is exposed to “major threats” mainly due to the poor organisation of the sector, fragility of the regional geo-political situation and the magnitude of the gold smuggling phenomenon compared to the level of the national gold reserves that do not exceed 6.8 tonnes, the committee further noted.
According to the World Gold Council’s data, Tunisia ranks 78th in the world and 12th at the Arab level with 6.8-tonne reserves while Algeria ranks 3rd at the Arab level and is world’s 25th with 173.3 tonnes, Libya is world’s 31st and Arab region’s 4th with 116.6 tonnes of reserves while Turkey has 516.7 tonnes of reserves.
The committee pointed out that the gold sector that brings together 6 thousand artisans and 400 collaborators who get the gold from the Central Bank of Tunisia (BCT) is facing a lack of control and monitoring of suspicious operations and checking of recipients’ identities, besides the absence of declarations and the use of cash transactions, hence the difficulty to trace the money.