Tackling money laundering in West Africa

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Money laundering and counter Financing of Terrorism remains one of the biggest challenges facing the international community. The ugly practice is the process of transforming the proceeds of crime into ostensibly legitimate money or other assets.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) defined money laundering as the method by which criminals disguise the illegal origins of their wealth and protect their asset basis, so as to avoid the suspicion of law enforcement agencies and prevent leaving a trail of incriminating. Such wealth may originate from the illicit sale of merchandise which throws nations, bodies and communities out of gear. We have in mind such merchandise as guns, ammunition, other sophisticated weaponry which may be used to destabilise countries and throw the citizenry and geo-political areas into wars, internal displacement, emigration and famine, and uncertain futures.

Therefore, the recent convergence in The Gambia by stakeholders against Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism Regimes in West Africa is a wise move. The forum would enable participants to strategies plans and come up with preventive measures against this ugly practice.

As stated by the organisers, the forum was aimed at improving common approach against Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism Regimes in West Africa. The fact that the training is a series of its kind, goes to show political will of West African governments in their resolve to tackle the menace at all cost. The Gambia’s prime location on this part of Africa makes it a target for the international money laundering networks.

It is a common practice associated with money laundering and organised crime in which perpetrators may also deal in such narcotic drugs as cannabis (marijuana), crack, cocaine, amphetamines, alcohol and other steroids which are inimical to human health, and throw people, especially the youth into such ailments as mental derangement and make them security risks to the larger communities and immediate families.

This ugly business in most cases undertaken by powerful syndicates is gaining across the globe, especially West Africa. Gone are the days when people associate the illicit business to most countries in Latin America, which are hotpots in the production of cocaine and amphetamines. It is therefore incumbent on all to play a part in exposing these powerful syndicates in their quest to cheat and destabilise local and international economies.

“Over all, it appeared to be some sort of drug or money laundering front that was having a terribly difficult time of not coming across as both.”

Mandy Ashcraft