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GIABA takes crusade against money laundering to youth

Jul 27, 2016, 10:53 AM | Article By: Lamin Jahateh

At least 100 youths from different organisations and tertiary institutions were yesterday sensitised on the negative effects of money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF), and their responsibilities and obligations in fighting the menace.

The daylong seminar, dubbed Open House Forum for Youth, was the maiden edition organised by the Intergovernmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) in The Gambia. 

Held at a local hotel in Kololi, the forum was designed to foster and strengthen partnership between GIABA and the youth in the fight against transnational organised crimes, particularly ML/TF.

The director general of GIABA, Adama Coulibaly, said the 2016 Open House Forum in The Gambia is the 8th of such a forum organised by GIABA in the sub-region.

He said the forum was initiated to sensitise youths on the negative effects of ML/TF, as part of efforts at ensuring the involvement of all stakeholders in fighting the twin crimes in West Africa.

In a statement read on his behalf by GIABA Director of Programmes and Projects Dr Bruno Nduka, Mr Coulibaly said the promotion of strategic partnerships with civil society, including the youths and media organisations, remains a priority for GIABA within its regional strategic framework.

The GIABA DG said there is a need to engage youth in the fight against crime and other unwholesome behaviours, as “they are highly susceptible and vulnerable to these crimes”.

Justice Minister Mama Fatima Singhateh said most of the criminal acts of money laundering such as drug trafficking, prostitution, kidnapping, advance fee fraud (419) and migrant smuggling are mainly perpetrated by those in their youthful ages.

“As such, for the issue of money laundering and terrorism and terrorism financing to be better tackled, there is the need for proper awareness among youth.

“It is important to improve on the capacities of youth in GIABA member states on anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism to better position them in championing the fight against ML and TF,” she added.

The minister said the Open House could not have come at a better time, as Gambian youths are “increasingly becoming vulnerable” to the commission of transnational crimes of money laundering.

She said the youth are also of particular concern because of their relation with the latest information technology, especially the internet and their indiscriminate quest for success and wealth.

The society too has become less critical of the means of wealth creation and acquisition, she noted.

“These and other attitudes of our society could place youths at great risk of being corrupted by unscrupulous persons, gangs and criminal organisations,” Justice Minister Singhateh said.

“I therefore urge the youth to be suspicious of the get-rich-quick schemes, be wary of jobs with quick money and report any such attempts to law enforcement agencies in order to make our country and world at large a safe place to live.”

The minister of youth and sports, Alieu K. Jammeh, represented by the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Finance, Lamin Camara, said the youths are a critical segment of the population that a country cannot afford to neglect, in the fight against ML and TF.

Yahya Camara, director general of the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Central Bank of The Gambia, and GIABA national correspondent, said the Open House Forum will go a long way in sensitising Gambian youth about ML/TF and other related economic and financial crimes, and their negative consequences on society.