Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Gambia training to build capacities of financial institutions on money laundering risks

Director of Gambia's financial intelligence unit, Alagie Darboe, said it was important to "identify, assess, and mitigate" risks associated with money laundering and terrorist financing (Photo Credit: @JoofMS/TNBES).
A two day training for financial institutions like banks, credit unions and insurance companies is to build the capacities of participants on "money laundering and terrorist financing risk assessment".

It is also meant to enhance the capacity of a pool of experts in financial institutions and designated non-financial businesses and professions (DNFBPs) to be capable of conducting money laundering and terrorist financing risk assessment, GIABA, said on Wednesday.

DNFBPs include casinos, real estate agents, dealers in precious metals, dealers in precious stones, lawyers, notaries, other independent legal professionals and accountants, trusts and company service providers.

The inter-governmental action group against money laundering in West Africa (GIABA) also said the training will develop and adopt a roadmap for conducting money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF) risk assessment in the financial and DNFBPs sectors.

Participants are also expected to agree on the next steps to improve ML/TF risk assessment in the various individual sub-sectors.

Breeds social ills

Gambia's financial intelligence unit (FIU) director, Alagie Darboe, said money laundering damages the integrity of "our financial systems", and has the ability to misallocate resources, income distribution and breeds social ills like crime and corruption.

For this reason, he said it was important to "identify, assess, and mitigate" risks associated with money laundering and terrorist financing. 

Darboe said such capacity building programmes are crucial for the establishment and protection of systems meant to fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.

Kimelabalou Aba, director general of GIABA, said money laundering and terrorist financing risks could easily be transposed to other financial institutions through transactions in economies that are fully integrated with the global financial system.

"A poor understanding of money laundering and terrorist financing risks by [financial businesses] has adverse implications for effective implementation of anti-money laundering and counter-financing terrorism preventive measures," he said in a statement read on his behalf.

Aba said this may result in weak customer due diligence culture - the process where relevant information about the customer is collected and evaluated for any potential risk for the organization or money laundering and terrorist financing activities. 

Continual management

GIABA said it is focusing its attention on providing technical assistance in building the requisite capacity of reporting entities in the area of ML/TF risk assessment in The Gambia.

The first deputy governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia said it was crucial for DNFBPs in the country to take part in the ML/TF risk assessment training in order to implement an effective AML/CFT measures by adopting a risk-based approach to financial dealings.

Dr. Seeku A.K. Jaabi said risks associated with financial transactions are dynamic and need continual management.

Financial institutions and designated non-financial businesses and professions should be at the forefront in the fight against money laundering, terrorist financing and other financial crimes.

Written by Modou S. Joof

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