How to curb money laundering, terrorist financing

Director-General, International Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), Adama Coulibaly, has said member-countries need strong partnership to check the rising cases of money laundering and terrorist financing in the sub-region.

Coulibaly, who spoke at a three-day regional sensitisation workshop on Anti-money Laundering/Combating Financing of Terrorism for civil society organisation organised by the International Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), in Lagos, described money laundering as a global problem that not only threatens security, but undermines economic prosperity of countries.

He said such partnership will make it possible for countries to significantly enhance understanding of various mechanisms designed to combat these crimes.

“The ultimate goal is to help create in the ECOWAS region not only a strong bulwark against those scourges but also create a conducive environment for investment, as well as for job creation for the benefit of the youth in particular,” he said.

He said GIABA was established by the Authority of States and Government of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in 2002 with the mandate to protect the national economies and financial system of member States from abuse and the money laundering of the proceeds of crimes.

The Director-General, Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Prof Bola Akinterinwa, said money laundering and terrorist financing are impediments to growth of world economies, adding that over the years, government and law enforcement agencies are struggling to handle illicit trafficking of arms and persons, trans-border theft and armed robbery, drugs, narcotics among others.

He added that the international community is determined to deprive persons engaged in illicit traffic of their criminal proceeds. He urged countries to collaborate with other states and international bodies in sharing information.

Prof Akinterinwa recommended that banks and financial institutions should know their customers reasonably well; maintain records of their transactions for up to five years and also engage in financial activities as a commercial undertaking be required to disclose information relating to their clients.

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