President of ECOWAS Commission, HE Marcel Alain de Souza (middle) flanked by Director General of GIABA, HE Mr. Adama Coulibaly (left) and Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, HE Mustapha Cisse Lo (right) and other participants at the “Regional Stakeholders Forum on Emerging Global AML/CFT Issues and Implications for GIABA Member States” in Saly, Senegal (Tuesday 16 – Thursday 18 August 2016)
A forum on anti-money laundering and counter financing terrorism (AML/CFT) held in Saly, Senegal, is meant to tackle emerging issues of the twin crimes in the sub-regional economic bloc, ECOWAS.
“The Forum also sought to enlist the support and commitment of all stakeholders in the pursuit of GIABA’s mandate and rid the region of trans-national organized crimes,” the Dakar-based anti-money laundering agency said in a statement on Wednesday.
It was held from August 16-18, 2016 by the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) under the theme “Regional Stakeholders Forum on Emerging Global AML/CFT Issues and Implications for GIABA Member States”.
GIABA said it is meant to inform and enlighten all stakeholders on the global emerging trends in anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism, with specific aim of understanding the implications for its member States.
On Tuesday, H.E. Marcel Alain De Souza, President of the ECOWAS Commission, reiterated the commitment of the ECOWAS Community to peace and security in the region through a holistic approach.
“It was important for ECOWAS to improve the multifaceted and strategic approaches and processes required to ensure the desired results in areas of regional peace and security,” he said.
De Souza identified key areas of attention to include: adequately resourcing the Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) of member States; the need for judiciary of member States to be more active and timely in the adjudication of relevant cases before them; and that Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), the media, youths and women groups among others should be involved in advocating peace and security in the region.
He also recalled his promise on assumption of office as the President of ECOWAS to strengthen the region, engender reforms and build the credibility of the Institutions. He assured the gathering of his commitment to these tasks.
He also emphasized the importance of peace and security, stating that without the two, no economic development can take place in the region.
Mr. Adama Coulibaly, the Director General of GIABA, highlighted the importance of comprehensive stakeholder engagement in AML/CFT issues in West Africa, with specific attention on terrorist financing to address the concerns of growing terrorism in the region.
He said that the need for peace in the region cannot be overemphasized, and he therefore brought to light the high-level advocacy missions embarked upon by GIABA leadership to mobilize authorities at the highest level in member States.
Coulibaly noted that such high-level advocacy missions are meant to ensure adequate compliance to global AML/CFT standards and avoid heavy international sanctions that may result from non-compliance.
He called for the need to carry every stakeholder along in the preparation for the 2nd Round of Mutual Evaluation exercises of GIABA member States. He concluded by calling on all stakeholders to expand support and commitment to GIABA and its work to build a peaceful and prosperous region.
The Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, H.E. Moustapha Cisse Lo and the President of ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, Hon. Justice Jerome Traore both expressed their solidarity to GIABA and promised support for the sub-regional agency in their individual capacities.
Particularly, the Speaker highlighted the specific role of Parliament in legislation at various member States and pledge commitment to work with GIABA to rid the region of these deleterious crimes.
The Dean of the ECOWAS ambassadors accredited to Senegal also expressed the commitment of the Diplomatic Corps to activities of GIABA and the fight against Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing.
GIABA is a specialised agency of the ECOWAS, charged with the mandate to protect the economies of West African countries from money laundering and to ensure the peace and security of the region through activities aimed at combating terrorist financing and financing of proliferation of small and light weapons.
Written by Modou S. Joof
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