#Article (Archive)

Regional course discusses money laundering, other crimes

Apr 12, 2011, 1:38 PM | Article By: Lamin B. Darboe

Over 30 participants from across the sub-region are currently taking part in a five-day regional course on money laundering and other financial crimes.
Organized by the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM), the course which is currently under way at the Paradise Suites Hotel brought together participants from The Gambia, Malawi, Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The course is, among others, geared towards assisting participants to develop critical skills in tracking money laundering and financial crimes perpetrated through the financial system in the sub-region.

In his opening remarks, Amadou Colley, Governor of The Central Bank of The Gambia, said that money laundering has proven to be a menace to the world, and the efforts required in its provision, detection and prosecution are enormous. This, he added, is so mainly because of the sophisticated techniques used by criminals to launder money.

According to Governor Colley, money laundering activities tend to undermine financial systems, thereby putting into question its integrity.

"Unchecked money laundering may engender contempt of the law, thereby undermining public confidence in the legal system and in the financial system, which in turn promotes other economic crimes such as fraud, exchange control violation and tax evasion," he added.

Colley told the gathering that The Gambia has made significant efforts at beefing up its machinery to combat the evils of money laundering and terrorism financing.

"In particular, the country has put in place the Anti-money Laundering Act 2003 and the Anti-Terrorism Act 2002, which is in the process of being revised to address shortcomings that were highlighted during the mutual evaluation conducted on the Gambia by GIABA in 2008," he added.

He commended the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM) for their continuous efforts at capacity building in the sub-region.

In his remarks to welcome participants, Akpan H. Ekpo, Director General of WAIFEM, gave a brief history of the organisation which, he said, was established in July 1996 by the central banks of The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone in response to identified gaps in capacity of officials responsible for macroeconomic policy design and implementation.

According to him, WAIFEM adopts a holistic and integrated approach to capacity building in the delivery methodology of its capacity building activities.

In his view, financial system stability is a major prerequisite for economic growth and development.

"Money laundering is a key threat to financial stability in any economy, more so to small and fragile economies in our sub-region," the WAIFEM official added.