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Sunday 21 January 2018


Halal Certification - Dastyari Lies To Parliament But Admits ‘Scammers’

Paul Zanetti Wednesday 2 December 2015

SENATOR Sam Dastyari lied to parliament yesterday but admitted in the Senate through gritted teeth, yes, halal certification is riddled with scammers.

Dastyari, Chair of the senate committee was opposed to the inquiry into halal certification and other third party food certification from the start, voting against the inquiry.

Showcasing his prejudice, the evening before the inquiry he tweeted, “I’m sick of all the racist dog whistling about halal certification so I took Ch 7 to Sydney’s best butcher.”

That predetermined position would be enough to remove any judicial arbiter before any hearing or investigation. It was a blatantly broadcast bias.

To make matters worse, during the inquiry the Senator lied to the media and the people of Australia. He repeated his lies in the Senate yesterday afternoon, stating the opposite of what fellow inquiry committee member Senator Cory Bernardi heard from AUSTRAC and the Australian Crime Commission, and what everyone else heard at the inquiry and what’s been subsequently published in Hansard the official transcript of the parliament.

What was in fact stated in the inquiry was that AUSTRAC has found no links from halal certifiers to terrorists because they’ve never investigated. AUSTRAC is hamstrung by their limited powers under the legislation that governs them the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF Act).

AUSTRAC is meant to investigate bank cash transactions, of $10,000 or more, which they pass onto other government agencies (like the ACC). But someone has to report knowledge or evidence to AUSTRAC, and only from specific entities under the law.

The entities under the legislation which deal in cash, bullion and financial transactions, are:

    •    Banks and similar financial institutions such as building societies
    •    Corporations
    •    Insurance companies and intermediaries
    •    Securities dealers, such as stock brokers
    •    Unit trust managers and trustees (but cash management trusts transacting only by cheque or similar are exempt)
    •    Travellers cheque or money order issuers
    •    Cash carriers and payroll preparation businesses
    •    Casinos   
    •    Bookmakers, including totaliser agencies
    •    Bullion dealers
    •    Solicitors, acting on their own behalf (e.g. their trust fund, or originated mortgages)

Do you see halal certifiers there? Nup, me neither, so AUSTRAC moves along, unable by law to even start at first base. A joke if t weren’t so dangerous in this day and age.

What clown devised this law? And why haven’t Attorney General George Brandis and Justice Minister Michael Keenan updated and amended it?

What is known is halal certifiers funnel your grocery money through Islamic charities which then channel the money to their international headquarters then to a myriad of bank accounts and sister charities which then find their way to Islamic causes and proscribed terrorist organisations.

One such charity is Human Appeal International (HAI) which has links to Hamas who launch rockets from hospitals into Israel. Hamas owns and controls the hospitals and has its headquarters in a hospital (human shield).

HAI in Australia  says they donate funds ($10 million) for ‘fuel’ for the hospitals in Gaza and Palestine. Cough, cough.  

Here’s what AUSTRAC said when questioned by Senator Cory Bernardi at the senate inquiry:

Senator BERNARDI: But you do not really track it, in essence, do you? You do not follow the certification money through a group like AFIC into a mosque or a bookstore where there are extremist materials and the conversion of people and the inspiring of jihadis is taking place.

Mr Robertson, AUSTRAC: The answer to that is: no, we do not follow those funds, particularly, for those entities who are engaged in halal certification. Our work has not taken us there. The monitoring of transactions that we do and the other information that we have received have not required us to prioritise that. There are other elements of the funding of all the things that present that current threat, which we do focus on, but the halal certification has not been one of those.

Senator BERNARDI: But you cannot then track what Hamas does with the funding?

Mr Robertson, AUSTRAC: Based on what is reported to us, no.

Senator BERNARDI: If a halal certifier boasts about supporting an organisation like Human Appeal International, which is directly linked to Hamas and has personnel on their international body that are linked to Hezbollah, which is not a good group of people, it is not too long a bow to draw and say, 'The profits of halal certification are linked to organisations that are not acting in Australia's interests?

Mr Robertson, AUSTRAC: That is when AUSTRAC does not have that investigative mandate in terms of an agency.

Senator BERNARDI: I can find this out through a Google search, effectively. We have a bloke (Mohammed El Mouelhy of Halal Certification Authority Pty Ltd)  who is boasting and is contributing to a charity which is directly linked to those types of organisations. How can you not conclude that the profits of halal certification, which this man openly boasts runs into millions of dollars for him, are contributing to extremist organisations?

Mrs Jamieson, AUSTRAC: We look at the financial transaction reports that come in. As we said, halal certification, the business, does not fall under our legislation.

Senator BERNARDI: Once again, I come back to this: have you specifically looked at the use of funds by organisations that conduct halal certification?

Mr Robertson, AUSTRAC: The answer to that is no, we are not looking specifically at the use of those funds. As Mrs Jamieson outlined in our opening statement, we do monitor for movements that relate to those activities. We use either names of entities or keywords, as we do for a range of things, in order to surface any information that we would then need to assess. But aside from those regular types of monitoring activities we do not have any active work against those movements of funds.

Next we take a look at the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) who utilities AUSTRAC for money laundering and terror funding tracking

Senator BERNARDI: We come back to this directly. If a certifying agency decides to remit funds overseas for whatever purpose—for humanitarian or charitable aims, either directly or through a third party—you are not really in a position to assess how those funds are utilised overseas. Is that correct?

Mr Hansford (ACC): That is correct. But we are in a position to understand how money is laundered by organised crime, and no sector in the Australian economy is really prone from infiltration by serious and organised crime, whether that is a bank or a casino, or the alternative remittance sector. All of them have the potential to be exploited, and for laundered money—

Senator BERNARDI: But we are not talking about money laundering. We are talking about legitimate businesses, or organisations in Australia, that raise money through the halal certification schemes or whatever, and then they say they are going to participate in an international outreach, either through a charity or anything else. They are not laundering money; they are just sending money overseas for a cause. There is no way you can assess, realistically, where every dollar of that money goes once it reaches an offshore destination like Syria or Iraq or Palestine, or anywhere else.

Mr Hansford (ACC): I guess the answer is that our focus is on money laundering and on serious and organised crime.

Senator BERNARDI: So we are talking apples and oranges.

Mr Hansford : Yes.

Senator BERNARDI: Thank you for your appearance today.

And here’s what Sam Dastyari, Chair of the Senate committee told the media later that day.

On 25 September 2015 he wrote on his Facebook page:

Sam Dastyari

Get the facts, tell your friends and stand up to fear mongering.

There is NO link between Halal certication and extremism, a fact confirmed by the Australian Crime Commission and AUSTRAC.

Dastyari is a bald faced liar.

I guess when you tell enough lies and getting away with them you can get bold enough to repeat them inside the parliament.

Here’s what he told the senate today:

Senator DASTYARI: “I briefly want to touch on this issue of terrorism. A significant number of submitters speculated that a link might exist between halal certification Australia and terrorist activity.

The committee considered these serious allegations very closely and sought the clarification of a number of government agencies with expertise in money laundering and counter terrorism financing.

AUSTRAC stated that despite these allegations that such a link does not exist. Representatives of the Australian Crime Commission confirmed that no direct link exists in their opinion between halal certification Australia and the funding of terrorism.

They most certainly did not.

Dastyari knowingly mislead (lied to) the parliament.

What was notable was that through clenched teeth Dastyari had to admit halal certification is riddled with scammers and opportunists  

Senator DASTYARI: “It is an inescapable fact that halal certification is poorly understood and arguably underegulated…certainly….certainly in the domestic market.

This compromises the integrity of the system and has allowed questionable conduct by certain certifiers with questionable expertise and questionable intent.

There are certifiers out there, particularly in the domestic market who are nothing more than scammers, (repeats) there are certifiers who are nothing more than scammers and this has undermined public confidence and in the view of this report amplified the perceived seriousness of any shortcomings that may exist.

But, Mr Acting Deputy President, improvements can be made.”

Senator Bernardi was more direct and certainly more truthful than Dastyari.

Senator BERNARDI: "The second point I’d make, and this is where Senator Dastyari and I principly disagree, was in regard to what happens to the money.

Now, yes we did have AUSTRAC there and AUSTRAC said that there is no direct link between halal certification and the financing of terrorism.

But AUSTRAC also said they had not ever investigated whether there was a direct link or not. So they’re making a statement about something they haven’t even investigated.

But what we do know is that international terrorism financing of proscribed organisations, by AUSTRACs own words, a major means of funnelling money out of the country is by charitable organisations and particularly Islamic charities.

And we have a circumstance again where we have a halal certifier in Mr El Mouelhy who has admitted to funding an organisation called Human Appeal International. Human Appeal International is quite proudly sending money overseas to fund and sponsor extremist groups like Hamas.

There are Hamas organised rallies with a Human Appeal International logo there and we’ve got an Australian certifier openly admitting to giving them large amounts of money.

Now if I can get that through a Google search I wonder why AUSTRAC with all their concerns about international financing of terrorism can’t be bothered to put it together themselves.

So I agree with Senator Dastyari about what AUSTRAC said but I don’t agree with the conclusion that Austrac has reached as a result of that."

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

The next step is to establish one government halal agency, one certificate, one recognised Australian trademarked logo - instead of the 33 or more currently in an unregulated mess.

That’s the only way to stop the scammers, the ripoffs, the money flow to overseas Islamic causes and terrorist organisations via Islamic charities.

And there's one more step. The senate needs to set up an inquiry into Islamic charities in Australia, used as conduits for funneling tens of millions of dollars to terrorists.

Somehow I reckon Cory Bernardi's got these sham charities in his sights.

Watch this space.

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