Nov 17, 2016, 10:31 AM
The issue of anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism has now become more relevant to address than ever before.
Passing anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regulations will also boost national efforts in combating money laundering.
This will further demonstrate the high level of political commitment to the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing at the national and regional levels.
Such regulations would require financial institutions to put in place systems to deter money laundering, and to assist the relevant authorities to deter money laundering activities.
We also believe that there is an absolute need to promote networking among financial operators in the region to facilitate information sharing and dissemination on anti-money laundering and terrorist financing (AML/TF).
Such regulations could impose a number of statutory obligations on all financial institutions in the country, such as to set up procedures for verifying the identity of clients; to set up record-keeping procedures for evidence of identity and transactions; to set up internal reporting procedures for suspicions, including the appointment of a Money Laundering Reporting Officer; and to train those employees in procedures for recognising and reporting suspicions of money laundering.
In some countries where such laws exist, if employers fail to do this, they are committing an offence, which is punishable by law.
With good supervisory mechanisms, there is a hope of reduction in money laundering and terrorist financing.
Establishing and maintaining effective financial intelligence units could be another measure in addressing the phenomenon.
We also call for a vigorous public sensitization on money laundering and terrorist financing, for people to be aware of the issue and the threats it could pose to our economy.
Such measures would help citizens report any suspicious actions and transactions relating to money laundering and terrorist financing.
The financing of terrorist activities and money laundering severely undermines sustainable economic growth through erosion of human capital, political and social instability, etc.
Once more, we applaud the efforts of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), since its establishment in 2000, to promote and coordinate the regional efforts against money laundering and terrorist financing.