Why money laundering, terrorism financing must be combatted

Tuesday, October 06, 2015
The Gambia Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) recently held a five-day training session on money laundering and terrorism financing, to equip real estate developers on how to detect and nib in the bud cases of possible money laundering and terrorism financing, in dealing with their clients.

This is a significant step by the FIU, as perpetuators of money laundering have seriously taken into cleaning their dirty or illicit money through investing in real estate or property purchase. They have found the real estate industry the most convenient way to clean their illicit wealth.

The fundamental concern here, however, is the damage money laundering and terrorism financing do to a nation’s economy and financial system, if serious actions are not taken to combat them.

While money laundering basically involves the proceeds of criminally derived property rather than the property itself, financial crimes are sometimes referred to as nonviolent criminal acts that involve the theft or misuse of money.

The consequences of money laundering are dire as they have the potential to wreck a country’s economy and cause serious havoc to the nation.

Money laundering has potentially devastating economic, security, and social consequences.

Unchecked, money laundering has the potentials of eroding the integrity of a nation’s financial institutions.

Due to the high integration of capital markets, it also adversely affects currencies and interest rates.

Money laundering is thus not only a law enforcement problem; it poses a serious national and international security threat as well.

Money laundering and financial crimes undermine the integrity of financial markets, engender the loss of control of economic policy, cause economic distortion and instability, lead to loss of revenue, pose risks to privatization efforts, and damage national reputation.

For these and other social problems such as their ability to transfer economic power from the market, government, and citizens to criminals, these twin evils must be fought hard to be combatted in the society.

In his remarks at the recently concluded training exercise for real estate operators, the FIU director general said The Gambia has two national strategies – other than the legal regulations such as the AML/CFT Act, 2012 – to combat money laundering and terrorism financing:the national strategy on combating money laundering and terrorist financing 2014, and the national strategy against organised crimes and terrorism 2014.

“These strategies were approved by the state and are being implemented,” the FIU DG said.

It is, therefore, essential that these measures are applied with all the seriousness they deserve to curb these twin evils in our society.

“Dirty money must have no place in our

economy.”

The Point