The Attorney General and Minister of Justice has disclosed that the Government of The Gambia has taken giant steps by putting in place legal, institutional and other measures to fight Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing (ML/TF) in the country.
Mama Fatima Singhateh was speaking at a day-long forum organised by the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money-Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) held under the theme: “Role of Youths in Combating Transnational Organised Crime”, on Tuesday.
“This is evident in the enactment of the Anti-Terrorism Act 2002 which also followed the enactment of the Money-Laundering Act 2003,” Minister Singhateh, who was deputising the Finance Minister at the event, said.
She informed participants that The Gambia has established the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) as a Government body to fight money laundering, terrorism financing and other criminal conducts.
Minister Singhateh also commended the GIABA management team for initiating this forum with the main purpose of enhancing the understanding of the youths on ML/CFT matters. The forum, according to her will also give participants the opportunity to know the important work GIABA has been doing to promote awareness and provide input on AML/CFT issues in The Gambia and the sub-region as a whole.
Minister Singhateh said worldwide estimates of the amount of money laundered annually ranges between US$1.5 and US$3.3 Trillion, i.e. between 2-5% of the World’s GDP. She added that a study by the AFDB and Global Financial Integrity (GFI) revealed that Africa leads the rest of the developing world, having lost between US$1.2 and US$1.4 Trillion over the 30-year period (1980-2009) through illicit financial flows (AFDB & GFI 2013:23).
The Director of Programmes and Projects at GIABA, Dr. Buno Nduka commended the Gambian authorities for the continued support and cooperation to his institution.
He said the establishment of GIABA is one of the main responses and contributions of ECOWAS towards the prevention and fight against money laundering and terrorist financing in the region.
Nduka said ML/TF financing severely undermines sustainable development by eroding social and human capital, threatening social and political stability, causing an artificial rise in the cost of business and driving away investment. This, he said, undercuts the ability of the member States to initiate or accelerate development.
by Lamin B. Darboe