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Finance Secy. Focused on Sub-regional Financial System

Nov 27, 2008, 4:55 AM

As Compliance Officers Training Opens

Mr. Musa Gibril Bala Gaye, Secretary of State for Finance and Economic Affairs, has revealed that the financial system within the sub-region has been mainly dominated by commercial banks.

Secretary of State Bala Gaye was speaking at the opening of a three-day training workshop on compliance officers training held at the Jerma Beach Hotel yesterday.

Organised by the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), the training will among other things cover issues relating to Roles and Responsibilities of Senior Management and Compliance Officers and Role of Financial Supervisory Authorities in the Enforcement of AML/CFT measures.

According to him, as a result, emphasis should be placed on the compliance of such institutions with the Financial Action Task Force Recommendations.

"However, given the sophistication of money launders, and perpetrators of terrorism, we should not in any way loose sight to the Non-financial Business, and profession, which have been an avenue for these criminals to succeed in laundering their ill-gotten wealth," he said.

Secy Bala Gaye also added that the mutual evaluation exercise is critical in providing guidance on the strengths and weaknesses of our anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism regimes. "There is no doubt that it is only when you know your weaknesses that you are able to design strategies to address them," he said.

He further revealed that The Gambia has been subjected to an evaluation early this year and the government has noted the areas of concern indicated in the report and is committed to addressing the concerns soon.

For his part, Momodou Bamba Saho, Governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia, described money laundering and terrorist financing as issues of global concern.

According to Governor Saho, people involved in these activities move into jurisdictions with weak regulatory and enforcement systems and that their activities can have a significant adverse impact on the integrity of the financial system.

"In The Gambia, the authorities are strongly committed to the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. The Government has therefore made efforts to establish a robust anti-money laundering and counter terrorism regime," he disclosed.

The Central Bank Governor added, "While we note the steps that we are taking within our country to develop a robust anti-money laundering regime, it is especially important to underline the importance of global co-operation in the fight against money laundering and other financial crimes".