#Article (Archive)

GIABA strengthens partnership with media to clean W/Africa of money laundering

May 3, 2012, 1:17 PM | Article By: Lamin B. Darboe

The Intergovernmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) has further strengthened its partnership with the media, geared towards cleaning West Africa of the twin crimes of money laundering and terrorist financing.

The sub-regional institution recently brought together media practitioners from various media houses within and outside the West African region, at a seminar dubbed World Press Conference held from 27th-28th April in Dakar, Senegal.

This was to re-orientate them about their complementary roles in creating a sub-region devoid of these transnational crimes, which can potentially undermine the economic growth of the sub-region if not properly checked on time.

According to Dr. Abdullahi Shehu, director general of GIABA, the objectives of the World Press Conference included to acquaint the media professionals about regional initiatives on the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing Terrorism (AML/CFT) framework, especially the mandate of GIABA in its sustained efforts to combat the twin crimes in the West African sub-region.

“I trust that with our joint efforts, we can surmount the challenges in the fight against money laundering and counter financing terrorism,” he said.

This year’s conference also involved briefing of ambassadors of ECOWAS countries in Senegal on emerging developments on AML/CFT issues in the sub-region. 

This was the third GIABA briefing of ambassadors, and was part of efforts to motivate and improve on the political commitment of the GIABA member states for the implementation of AML/CFT regimes in the region.

The director general of GIABA told the ambassadors that so far 13 out of the 15 members states have been evaluated, which revealed poor compliance levels on the preventive measures to be taken by member states in the fight against ML/FT, adding that this was a pointer to the level of vulnerability of the sub-region’s financial systems to money laundering and other related crimes.

“It is therefore crucial that national governments are committed to the effective implementation of AML/CFT measures on a risk-sensitive basis, and ensure prioritization of actions, as well as resources optimization,” the GIABA director general remarked.

The 2011 annual report of GIABA was also presented to the ECOWAS ambassadors and the media executives, in order to provide them with relevant information about the activities carried out by the organization. 

The 123-page report particularly provided the media delegates with a tool to report on the scourges of money laundering and terrorist financing in the West African economies.

“I urge you to take time to read it with, especially, attention to the analyses of the money laundering situation and on-going efforts in your countries to combat it,” Dr Shehu said. 

“The purpose is for you to provide informed feedback to your home governments with a view to strengthening the regional alliance against transnational organized and deepening the ECOWAS regional integration program,” he added.