Director General, GIABA, Dr. Abdullahi Shehu
The Inter- Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) has called on member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to step up their approach in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing in the sub-region.
A statement quoted the Director General, GIABA, Dr. Abdullahi Shehu, to have said this while speaking at the annual briefing session for ECOWAS Ambassadors and development partners in Dakar, Senegal at the weekend.
Shehu stated that to deepen regional integration in line with ECOWAS’ Vision 2020 agenda, there was the urgent need to improve on the political commitment of member states for the implementation of Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regimes in the region.
According to him, a recent evaluation of member countries by GIABA had shown that most of them were still struggling with the implementation of the old Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards.
“Another area of success for GIABA is in the establishment of financial intelligence units. However, some of the FIUs in the region are operating sub-optimally, hence the capacity to receive, analyze and disseminate suspicious transaction reports that facilitate investigation and prosecution is impaired,” he said.
The GIABA boss, who described money laundering as a derivative, migratory and trans- border crime, emphasised that it required very close collaboration between countries to checkmate the criminals involved, even as he urged member states to pool resources together and support each other in the fight against the crime.
While acknowledging the support of the member states over the years, he outlined various efforts by GIABA to deliver on its mandate, and reiterated continued commitment to providing technical assistance to States and civil organisations to fight the crimes.
Shehu further disclosed that FATF, in collaboration with other stakeholders had undertaken the revision of the its standards which expanded Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) to include domestic PEPs and included tax crime as a new predicate offence.