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Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Somali Money Transmitters Association (SOMTA)

I found this in google's Cache, and wanted to presearve the data before it disapears. Here is another website under development here, but I wanted to preserve the Officers names, for the record.

-Shimron

SOMTA

Somali is a poor country that has suffered massive internal conflict. There is no proper government and no banking system. Many Somalis live in other countries and send money home to support their families. Remittance companies provide a service that enables them to do so efficiently and economically. However, there is concern that the mechanisms used for this purpose can also be used for other, illegal, purposes.

Six leading Somalia money transmitters have therefore entered into a Memorandum of Understanding. The key features of this are - The adoption of strict membership requirements established an association to help ensure that the industry operates to the highest possible standards. They have been supported by the United Nations Development Program, which recognises the important role that remittance companies play in alleviating poverty and promoting economic development.

The Somali Money Transmitters Association (SOMTA) has the following objective:
To secure the future of the Somali remittance industry through a safe and healthy sector comprising of fully compliant money transmitters who are able to operate and compete globally, and to promote the image of the industry.

The members have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding:
Its based on compliance with registration and licensing requirements in the countries in which they operate and observation of legal requirements in respect of money laundering.
The establishment of compliance standards and an independent compliance audit that companies will have to pass in order to retain membership.

SOMTA has established rules governing membership and compliance arrangements. Other companies willing to comply with the rules are welcome to join.

SOMTA takes the form of a company limited by guarantee, registered in the UK. It is governed by a Council comprising of -

Council Members
  • Ali Yassin Farah (Amal Express)
  • Mr. Mustafa I. Said (Dahabshiil)
  • Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Kadiye (Qaran Express)
  • Ahmed Salad Waranle (Al-Mustaqbal Express)

Adminstration Group

  • Mohamed Djirdeh Hussein Chairman and Executive Director of The Council
  • Sh. Ciise Ali Wardere Vice Chairman
  • Cumar Cali Cabdallah Adminstration Assistant


Membership


Only corporate bodies may be become members. A company applying to be a member must meet the following conditions -

  • The member itself and the persons it entrusts with the tasks of management and administration for it in the domain of money transmission business must enjoy a good reputation with regard to their activity as money transmitters.
  • It and its agents must be registered or have a valid licence to conduct business as a money transmitter in all jurisdictions where they operate that have such requirements.
  • It must not use correspondents that are not registered or do not have licences in jurisdictions where this is required.
  • It must have a viable, written and verifiable compliance handbook and programme that meets requirements of all the countries they operate in.
  • It must operate in compliance with all applicable legal and regulatory requirements, and cooperate with law enforcement agencies when called upon.
  • It must use money transfer technology and procedures and controls that effectively protect the operator and its agents from money launderers and financiers of terrorism.
  • Members must use technology, systems and procedures that have been approved for the purpose by the Council.

Application for membership

  • The Council may stipulate the manner in which applications may be made.
  • An application must contain a written declaration that the applicant agrees unreservedly to comply with the Articles of Association, bye laws and rules and regulations of the Association.
  • An applicant for membership shall provide with its application documentation providing information on its organisational structure and business activity. At a minimum, this shall include:
    Registered company name;
    Particulars of its corporate objectives and activities;
    A copy of its memorandum and articles of association or equivalent documents;
    Full contact details of places of business (address, telephone number, email address) and money transmitter networks, including details of all agents;
  • The names of the proprietor or beneficial owners, the members of the management and authorised signatories, together with their respective shareholdings; Information on membership of trade associations;
  • Details of licences or registration for all jurisdictions in which the member operates.
    The Council shall accept an application if it satisfied itself that the applicant meets the requirements of these Rules. Otherwise, the application shall be rejected.
  • If the Council rejects the application, the applicant may appeal to an independent arbitrator as provided for in paragraph 18 of these Rules.

Compliance audits

  • The Council shall make Rules governing compliance audits.
  • All full members shall have a satisfactory compliance audit not later than 31 October 2006. After 31 October 2006 an applicant for membership must have had a satisfactory compliance audit.
  • Members will be required to have a full compliance audit every year.
    A member that fails to have a satisfactory compliance audit in accordance with the Rules made by the Council shall automatically cease to be a member.

Standards for remaining a member

  • Members must at all times satisfy and comply with the membership standards as stipulated by the Council.
  • A member falling behind more than 30 days in their dues shall lose their membership. Should the member be reinstated within 12 months of such a lapse, the intervening months must be paid up.
  • The Executive Director shall periodically check the information available from public sources to ascertain whether members continue to satisfy the conditions for membership.

Expulsion from membership or imposition of conditions

  • The Council may expel a company from membership if it fails to comply with the Articles of Association or rules, regulations or bye laws made by the Council.
  • The Council will notify a member of any proposal to expel it and the reasons for doing so and shall invite the member to make representation to the Council at the meeting when the expulsion is considered.
  • The Council, as an alternative to expulsion, may impose conditions which a member must meet in order to retain membership.
  • If the Council resolves to expel a member or to impose conditions which must be met in order to retain membership, the member may appeal to an arbitrator as provided for in paragraph 18 of these rules.

Arbitration

  • The Council shall appoint an independent arbitrator who will be empowered to hear appeals against decisions of the Council on membership, expulsion or the imposition of conditions on membership.
  • The decision of the Arbitrator will be binding on the Association and the company.

Composition of the Council

  • The Council may determine its size.
  • The Council may determine its quorum subject to this being no fewer than half the members of the Council.
  • The founder members of the Association and any other members paying the maximum subscription shall each be entitled to nominate a member of the Council.
  • The Council may co-opt additional members of the Council.
  • The Council shall appoint a Chairman from among its members.

Powers of the Council

  • The Council shall decide on all matters which are not wholly reserved to the general meeting of the Association.
  • The Council may delegate any of its powers to another committee or to an individual.
    The Council shall, where necessary, issue rules laying down the powers of the other committees and organisational units.
  • The duties of the Council include, in particular:
    laying down, coordinating and supervising the various functions;
    issuing and amending the Rules; formulating compliance, training and development plans and arranging for their implementation;
  • Deciding on the appointment of auditors for verifying compliance with the membership requirements;
  • Taking decisions to accept or to expel members or to impose conditions on membership;
  • Appointing and terminating the contract of the Executive Director and any other staff;
    appointing the members of committees;
  • Selecting and appointing the auditor to the Association;
    managing the assets of the association;
  • Drawing up the annual budget at the proposal of the Executive Director and fixing the membership subscription;
  • Preparing and presenting motions to be put to a general meeting.
  • The Council shall also determine which persons are authorised to represent the Association and the manner in which the legally binding signature of the Association is to be exercised.
    The Council shall determine when and where its meetings shall be held, including holding meetings by electronic means.

Executive Director

  • The Council shall appoint an Executive Director, to be responsible for the management of the Association, and shall determine the terms and conditions of the appointment. The Council may delegate any of its functions to the Executive Director.

Associates

  • The Council may make rules allowing companies and other organisations that do not qualify for full membership to become associates of the Association, and to determine the fees to be paid and the rights and obligations of associates.
  • An associate will have no membership rights and may not describe itself as a member of the Association.

Meetings of members

  • The Association shall hold an annual general meeting not later than six months after the end of each financial year.
  • At least one third of the members of the Association, or the Council, may at any time require the Executive Director to convene a general meeting.
  • In convening such a meeting the Executive Director shall give not less than 21 days notice to members of the business to be transacted.
    At general meetings of the Association each member shall have one vote for each $1,000 of subscription income. [interesting-the richest members control the organization-Shimron]
  • The Council shall present an annual report of its activities to the annual meeting.

A meeting of members shall have the following powers -

  • To expel a member for non compliance with these Rules where the Council has failed to act of a recommendation of the Executive Director to do so.
  • To remove a member of the Council.
    To amend these Rules and any other rules, regulations or bye laws made by the Council.

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