Digital Assets

SIFA CEO begins in New Role

Tuifaasisina Sieni Tualega-Voorwinden, who was appointed as CEO of the Samoa International Finance Authority (SIFA) by the cabinet in Q1 2020, has begun in her role.

Tualega–Voorwinden is a qualified lawyer, having attained a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws degrees from Auckland University. She first joined SIFA over a decade ago, and has also been contracted as SIFA’s ACEO for Registration and Legal for six years, according to an article by Samoa Global News.

Prior to her new role, Tualega–Voorwinden was the Manager of Operations and Responses for The Cause Collective, a Pacific social change agency.

SIFA was reportedly established in 2005 as the Samoan Government’s response to rapid changes in the global financial environment.

In 2018, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) published its third follow-up report on Samoa following its request for technical compliance re-ratings, conducting a mutual evaluation report, something which first occurred in 2015.

The report commended the nation’s efforts to make progress in addressing the technical compliance deficiencies identified previously by FATF, leading to re-ratings in some respects in this category. The report also acknowledged that progress had been made in accordance with other recommendations made, although the progress did not constitute a re-rating in these aspects.

In the same report, FATF acknowledged that the jurisdiction did not fall into the ‘high risk’ category in regard to tax regulation, although progress could be made in tax evasion limitation and incentivisation, as the jurisdiction does not fully cover all 21 of FATF’s offences.

In the same year, Samoa amended the nation’s Counter Terrorism Act (2014), ensuring that it met elements of the TF Convention. The report does note a lack of robustness in the nation’s legislation pertaining to the freezing and unfreezing of property assets under the banner of counter terrorist efforts.

The nation commenced its Citizenship-by-Investment programme in 2017, having first launched the programme in 2016. According to an article by Best Citizenships, the scheme allows individuals and their immediate family to gain citizenship through the scheme, with applicants eligible to apply within three months before the expiry of the Permanent Resident Permit.