Nov 25, 2014, 9:55 AM
(Issue, Monday, August 22, 2016)
A vital three-day “Regional Stakeholders Forum on Emerging Global AML/CFT Issues and Implications for GIABA Member States” in Senegal has just been concluded (16 -18 August 2016) by the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA).
Salient issues were discussed at that forum which, if actualised, may be of great help to West Africa’s economies but if not, would let our economies continue to face serious macro-economic and financial shockwaves that will hamper economic growth and cause hardship in the country.
The forum provided a general overview of emerging AML/CFT risks in the GIABA region; developed a shared understanding of the requirements for the implementation of the FATF Revised Standards to enhance compliance; provided a platform for appreciation of the GIABA 2016-2020 Strategic Plan; and resource implications; and strengthened community cooperation in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.
These aspects of anti-money laundering and financial crimes were specifically looked into because money laundering, financial crimes and terrorist financing cause serious harm to an economy. Their implications could involve also security threat to a nation, as there is always element of trafficking in various forms – human and arms deal involved, as well as terrorism through terrorist financing.
Well, in trying to fix the bolts and nuts to tackling money laundering and terrorist financing, key areas should be addressed - as mentioned by the Ecowas Commission president.
These include adequately resourcing the Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) of member States; more active and timely performance by the judiciary in discharging justice to relevant cases before them; ensuring the active participation of civil society organizations (CSOs), the media, the youth and women groups among others in advocating peace and security in the region.
It is expected that these aspects, considered and discussed at the just-concluded three-day “Regional Stakeholders Forum, will be effectively implemented for the good of our economies and nations.
“You get to a point where it gets very complex, where you have money laundering activities, drug related activities, and terrorist support activities converging at certain points and becoming one.”