|Participants and Facilitators|
In its communique, West Africa’s leading anti-money laundering, terrorism financing agency, GIABA, urges journalists to teamup with other agencies involved in the same cause to stepup against financial crimes.
The Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, GIABA ,said both journalists and other agencies should collectively ensure that appropriate measures are taken against the twin crimes in a more harmonized and concerted manner.
In the communiqué, the 30 journalists and media executives drawn from the sub-regional economic bloc,
ECOWAS, recommended that media practitioners should collaborate with organizations like Financial Action Task Force (FATF) - the global standard-setter for measures to combat money laundering, terrorist and proliferation financing; GIABA – an arm of ECOWAS established to fight money laundering and terrorist financing in West Africa, and similar organizations at national level.
This, they said, will help to devise a common direction and means to articulate a more concerted regional approach to the fight against money laundering and financing of terrorism to put a stop to the amount of millions of dollars being laundered yearly in West Africa.
In doing this, GIABA also propose to journalists to be frequenting its website (www.giaba.org) and the FATF (http://www.fatf-gafi.org) in order to keep themselves abreast with ML/CFT issues.
“Journalists should undertake investigative work on Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing Terrorism (AML/CFT) issues and ask all critical questions from authorities on suspicion of money laundering and financing of terrorism activities,” the two-page communiqué stated. “Capacity building activities such as this training workshop should be held frequently at national levels to broaden journalists’ understanding on AML/CFT regimes.”
It added that press organisations should have a permanent desk on financial crimes, and a model of collaboration between GIABA and media organisations be developed on reporting of AML/CFT efforts.
In a more proactive language, it was also recommended that journalists should familiarize themselves with all the 21 predicate offences for money laundering and terrorist financing, and uphold the ethics and principles of journalism in all ramifications without fear or favour towards achieving professionalism in order to safeguard the interest and work of journalists.
“If the issues raised in this communiqué are given serious attention by all governments in the sub-region; the prospects of eliminating these evils from our societies will be enhanced,” the participants said with firm conviction.
They also expressed “sincere appreciation” to the management and staff of GIABA for organizing the two-day interactive session, a programme dedicated to strengthening capacity to fight the menace of money laundering and other financial related crimes.
The Interactive Session was purposely held to build the capacity of media practitioners and acquaint them which regional initiatives on AML/CFT framework, especially the mandate of GIABA in its sustained efforts at combating ML/TF in West Africa.
It also seeks to raise awareness on the ills of money laundering and terrorist financing and the need to report on financial crimes, and to provide documentation and research materials to assist journalists in their reporting.
The training session, which provided an opportunity for the fruitful exchange of ideas, set the stage for future fruitful collaboration between and among media practitioners.
By Modou S. Joof
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