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Gambia’s money laundering situation given clean bill of health

Nov 18, 2014, 10:06 AM | Article By: Al Amin

The Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), an inter-governmental body, has finally confirmed that The Gambia’s standing in terms of fighting money laundering and terrorism financing (ML/TF) is in a good condition.

According to a statement from the GIABA secretariat in Dakar, Gambia’s mutual evaluation follow-up report was discussed and adopted during the organisation’s 22nd Technical Commission and Plenary (TC/P), held from 10th to 14th November, 2014 in Senegal.

The adoption of Gambia’s follow-up report signified that the country has made a number of important steps to strengthen its legal and regulatory framework to tackle the twin evil of ML/TF.

The Gambia was placed in a follow-up process after the GIABA 2013 Plenary found a number of deficiencies in the country’s anti-money laundering and countering financial terrorism (AML/CFT) measures.

Subsequently, The Gambia was directed to address its AML/CFT strategic deficiencies failing which a public statement will be published against the country.Also, if the deficiencies were not addressed urgently, GIABA said The Gambia would soon be blacklisted for not making sufficient progress to improve its AML/CFT system.

Finally, the report of the follow-up mutual evaluation which examined whether the country has made any progress since last year has been given a clean bill of health.

The follow-up procedure is designed to assist Gambia just like other GIABA member states to address identified deficiencies in their AML/CFT regime to ensure compliance with acceptable international standards.

Not only Gambia

During the Dakar Plenary, the mutual evaluation follow-up reports of Guinea Bissau, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali and Niger were also discussed and adopted.

The objective of the plenary was to enable member states and AML/CFT experts from the stakeholder Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) institutions to discuss the threats and challenges associated with money laundering and terrorism financing (ML/TF) in the sub-region.

It also provided an opportunity for GIABA member states to share experiences on the effective implementation of AML/CFT measures.

Other meetings preceding the TCP included a technical assistance forum aimed at interacting with development partners to ensure a coordinated approach to technical assistance delivery to GIABA member states.

Also, the Forum of Heads of Financial Intelligence Units of member states was held as part of their platform for experience sharing and exchange of information.

Outcomes of the meeting included signing of financial agreement with the European Union; and adoption of the GIABA director general’s summary activity report.

GIABA is a specialized institution of ECOWAS that is responsible for strengthening the capacity of member states towards the prevention and control of money laundering and terrorist financing in the region.