|Dr. Abdullahi Shehu|
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 has 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 27-28 April in Dakar, Senegal 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 sub-region if not properly check on time.
Dr. Abdullahi Shehu, director general of GIABA said the objectives of the World Press Conference includes to acquaint the media professionals about regional initiatives on 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 development on AML/CFT issues in the sub-region. This is the third GIABA briefing of Ambassadors and its 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 of have been evaluated.
The evaluation revealed poor compliance level on the preventive measures to be taken by Member States in the fight against ML/FT and Dr Shehu said this is 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,” GIABA director general remarked.
2011 Annual Report
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 provides the media delegates 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.”
Author: Lamin Jahateh, Publisher, Gambia News Online.