…Trains youths against terrorism financing
A group, the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa has called for stronger synergy against rising cases of money laundering and financing of terrorism in West Africa.
GIABA, which is a specialized institution of the Economic Community of West African States, expressed dismay that the trend had severely undercut sustainable development by eroding social and human capital.
The Director General of GIABA, Edwin Harris, stated this at the group’s 15th Open House Forum on Anti-Money Laundering training held at the University of Port Harcourt on Tuesday.
Harris noted that money laundering was threatening the social and political stability of countries in the region as well as causing an artificial rise in the cost of business thereby chasing away investment.
Represented by the country Head of GIABA, Timothy Melaye, he noted that the proceeds of financial crime propel corruption, saying it was expedient for member states of the regional body to close ranks.
He stated “This has to be done not only as part of protecting the world economies, including Africa’s, against criminal infiltration, but also to enhance the rule of law, deepen regional integration and maintain regional peace and security.”
Harris maintained that the menace of transnational organized crime, particularly money laundering and terrorist financing, pose serious threats on peace, security and sustainable development in any nation.
“Money laundering and the financing of terrorism are not new phenomena in West Africa. Typologies have already identified a vast number of money laundering cases in the region; cases of Financing Terrorism are also now beginning to be identified in several countries.
“These cases are obviously intimately linked to corruption. This is the reason why states in West Africa have a duty to act together in order to combat these threats,” he said.
He further stated that the ECOWAS states are under serious threat of social dislocation or worse unless action is taken now.
He noted that countries within GIABA’s specific mandate should ensure collaboration to facilitate the adoption and implementation of measures against money laundering and financing terrorism in view of the specific regional peculiarities and conditions.
He added, “Organized crime knows no borders and all nations must cooperate completely to deal with this threat. Recognition of the negative effects of money laundering and terrorist financing has prompted the international community to take measures to combat them.”
Also, in his address, the Director, Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, Modibbo Hamman-Tukur, noted that the Open House Forum is one of the awareness and advocacy strategies adopted by GIABA to sensitise stakeholders from ECOWAS member States particularly the youths on the threats of money laundering, financing of terrorism and other crimes to enable them advocate for strong Anti-Money laundering and counter financing terrorism measures in the region.