Thursday, February 20, 2014

FIU ready to work with anti-money laundering journalists network in Gambia

L - R: Mr Drammeh, Mr Jahateh and Mr Camara (Photo Credit: MSJoof/TNBES/Feb2014)

The director of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has promise to work with the Network of Journalists against Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing – The Gambia, a national chapter of the sub-regional network.

Yahya Camara said his Unit is ready to work with the network to see how best the right information on the scourges of the twin evils of Money Laundering and Financing Terrorism (ML and FT) reach the masses. 
The FIU is established by an Act of the parliament and is mandated to render services such combating ML and FT in The Gambia.

Mr Camara was speaking to members of the network during a courtesy call to his office, located within the Central Bank of The Gambia in Banjul, on Wednesday.  

Speaking earlier, Lamin Jahateh, coordinator of the network, said the purpose of the visit is to formally introduce the network to the FIU, and to discuss areas that the FIU can collaborate with the network, as part of the network’s 2014 action plan.

The main objectives of the network include complementing the efforts of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) in combating economic and financial crimes in the sub-region with a view to protect the national economies and financial systems from ML.  

The network also aims to build the capacity of journalists reporting on issues pertaining to money laundering and terrorism financing.

Mr Jahateh said this year the network intends to organize a seminar to familiarise journalists with the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing Terrorism Act of The Gambia. 
“This is to help journalists to be au fait with the tools and knowledge needed to do a proper reporting and analysis of the twin crimes,” he said.  

He also told the FIU boss that the network intends to hold a symposium on International Anti-Corruption Day, 9th December.  “The event will be staged to raise awareness on the menace of corruption as it is one of the sources where people derive illicit fund to launder or to finance criminals.” 

The network also has plans to prepare and publish an E-Newsletter that will contain quality reports and feature articles on ML and FT, as part of its efforts to disseminate information on the twin crimes.

Welcomed initiatives

Mr Camara, director of the FIU, said the initiatives of the network are welcome and that the FIU will see how best they can collaborate with the network.

On the training, he said, already the FIU has little funding from the African Development Bank and there are trainings as part of the package that they are supposed to do with different sectors.

“So, we will see how best we can stage at least one training for journalists on the AML/CFT Act.  We have not yet finalise on the programme schedules, but we will see where to fit it in,” he said.  

“But again you also have to work more with GIABA to be organisaing more training for journalists in The Gambia.  Not only providing a single training, but it should be ongoing.  At least one or twice in a year, GIABA should come up to help train journalists on AML/CFT issues,” he added.

Aside from staging a tailor-made training for journalists, the FIU boss said they will also be inviting one or journalists from the network to be participating in the trainings the FIU will organized for different stakeholders so that the journalists can be sensitized on different aspects of ML and FT.

The meeting was also attended by Mr Essa Drammeh, director of Financial Supervision Department of the Central Bank of The Bank and Modou S. Joof, a member of the journalists’ network.

The Network of Journalists against Money Laundering is a national chapter of the Network of Journalists against Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism in West Africa.  

The sub-regional media network includes senior journalists and editors from Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, and Sierra Leone among other West African countries.  The aim is to form a regional media alliance to wage massive crusade against money laundering and terrorism financing. 

The establishment of the media network is in cognizance of the crucial role of the media in the fight against money laundering and financing of terrorism.

Written by Modou S. Joof

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