And that also includes all NON-PROFITS!? DOES The Tribune fear losing BIG MONEY FROM ONE A DEM NPOs?
STATEMENT BY Registrar General’s Department!!!!
Registrar General’s Department Responds to Concerns arising from the recent NPO Disclosure Notice
Nassau, The Bahamas- On July 21st 2017, The Tribune newspaper published an article in relation to a Notice from the Registrar General’s Department requiring Non-Profit Organizations (NPO’s) to produce certain documents, and there has been subsequent concerns expressed by Social Partners.
The assertion that the Registrar General can only request financials from a Non-Profit Organization where the Registrar General is “of the view that non-profits are engaged in terror financing” is incorrect as Section 123 of the Companies Act gives the Registrar General the authority to request financials at any time in writing. The Department wishes to advise that NPO’s are governed by the Companies Act as well as the Companies (Non-Profit) Regulations.
The Registrar General’s Department is exercising the authority of the Registrar General to ensure that all non-profit organizations are adhering to the 2014 Regulations and further, that The Bahamas is seeking to enhance regulatory oversight of the non-profit sector. The 2014 Regulations are not designed to lead to any sort of taxation of non-profit Companies or any registered NPOs.
The Bahamas introduced regulations in the form of the Companies (Non-Profit Organizations) Regulations 2014, (the “2014 Regulations”). The 2014 Regulations, as crafted, sought to regulate all non-profit organizations, whether incorporated under the Companies Act or otherwise. This was necessary to ensure that the Registry maintained files and records of all non-profit Companies and entities in The Bahamas sufficient to ensure that (a) they utilized any money received or donated for the express purposes for which they were incorporated under the Companies Act, or for their declared purposes, if unincorporated; (b) and that the beneficial owners of every NPO are contained on a Register of such.
The Registrar General’s Department pursuant to these Regulations, and more specifically regulations 5 and 15, has therefore sought to ascertain the status of all existing non-profits, and those on its Registry. In doing so the Registrar General is exercising its supervisory and enforcement authority to monitor and regulate non-profit organizations pursuant to Regulation 4 of the Regulations.
This review of all non-profits on the Registry is also important to ensure that we are in compliance with our international obligations; preventing the potential use of non-profits in The Bahamas as vehicles for international criminal activity, and protecting our financial industry which is vital to our national development.
The Registrar further asserts that the Notice is not intended to allege that any or all NPO’s in The Bahamas are engaged in any form of terrorism financing. The Register General takes the threat of terrorism and money laundering seriously and is taking every step to ensure that companies incorporated/registered are operating in an environment in compliance Bahamian Law.
It is the intention of the Registrar General to similarly give Notice to all unincorporated Friendly Societies; and to review the position as it affects other NPOs. Legal advice will in some cases be required to determine all the categories of NPOs to which the 2014 Regulations apply. Based on such further legal advice the categories of non-profit entities may widen further.
Please be further advised that the requested financials will not be made available for public inspection, but administrative use.