#National News

GIABA, GIZ train Financial Intelligent Units

Feb 24, 2021, 1:52 PM | Article By: Cherno Omar Bobb

The Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) in collaboration with Deutsche Gesellschaftfür Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) has begun a three-day Financial Intelligence Analysis Course for selected Financial Intelligent Units (FIUs) from five GIABA member states from Monday.

Currently underway at Kairaba beach hotel, the training seeks to strengthen the capacity of the FIUs to be able to develop qualitative operational and strategic products that will facilitate easy detection of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing related cases.

It is also designed to help establish policies and goals for the FIUs and other entities within the AML/CFT regime by exposing participants to new/recent analytical techniques/best practices in strategic analysis; and supporting the FIUs towards attaining international requirements with regards to operational and strategic analyses.

Speaking at the forum, Alagie Darboe, director FIU-The Gambia said the capacity-building initiative highlights the organizers’ commitment to combating threats of money laundering, financing of terrorism and proliferation.

Darboe observed that criminal elements have seized upon the Covid-19 pandemic to perpetrate financial crimes. 

“Cases of counterfeit Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and bogus COVID-19 medication being sold, online fraud, and increased illicit transactions on the dark web have been reported.”

The rise in illicit financial activity, he added, should therefore spur us to redouble and align ‘our efforts to combat financial crime and preserve the integrity of our financial systems.’

He underscored the role of Financial Intelligence Units in the fight against money laundering and financing terrorism and proliferation. 

“We received a total of 47 Suspicious Transaction reports, 42 domestic information requests, 1 international information request in 2020. In the same year, 6 international information requests were sent.  Of the STRs received, fraud emerged as the most-reported predicate offence of ML, accounting for 66% (sixty-six percent) of the STRs filed.” he added.

Deputizing for director general of GIABA, Dr. Buno Nduka, director of Evaluation and Compliance at Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa, described the training as apt, considering the lack of technical capacity in the selected member FIUs to effectively conduct strategic and operational analysis.

“Our experience in the region shows that upcoming FIUs, particularly the FIUs of Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Gambia, Liberia and Sierra Leone lack the requisite capacity to effectively conduct operational and Strategic analysis.”

This weakness, he added, undermines the abilities of these member FIUs to effectively meet their domestic and international commitments as well as requirements of international best practices for FIUs.