The ECOWAS Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing in West Africa (GIABA) this week met with regional stakeholders in Dakar to discuss the global emerging trends in Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT).
According to a press release, the move is aimed at creating a better understanding of the implications for GIABA member states and the importance of expanding the support base of AML/CFT in the region.
His Excellency Marcel de Souza, President of the ECOWAS Commission in his keynote address, commended GIABA for its good work and in particular the involvement of the Commission’s leadership in the forum.
He reiterated the Commission’s commitment to peace and security through holistic approach, thus calling for improvement of strategic multifaceted approaches and processes required to produce the desired results in these specific key areas. “These include adequately resourcing the Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs), the judiciary to be more active and timely in the adjudication of relevant cases before them, Civil Society Organisations, the media, youth and women groups among others.
The President recalled the promise he made when he assumed office as the President of ECOWAS to strengthen the region, engender reforms and build the credibility of the institutions. He re-assured the gathering of his commitment to these tasks.
In his welcome address, Adama Coulibaly, Director General of GIABA, said the objective of the forum was to identify and share key needs among stakeholders for a comprehensive engagement in AML/CFT with specific attention on terrorist financing to address the concerns of growing terrorism in the region.
He underscored the need to carry every stakeholder along in the preparation for the 2nd rounds of mutual evaluation exercises of GIABA member states while indicating that the need for peace in the region cannot be overemphasised.
“Let me bring to light the high-level advocacy missions embarked upon by GIABA leadership to mobilise authorities at the highest level in member states to ensure adequate compliance and that all stakeholders expand support and commitment to GIABA and its work to build a peaceful and prosperous region,” DG Coulibaly concluded.
The Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, H.E. Moustapha Cisse Lo; and the President of ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, Hon. Justice Jerome Traore, in their goodwill messages expressed solidarity with GIABA and promised to support the organisation in their individual capacities.
The Hon Speaker highlighted the specific role of the Parliament in law making at various member states and pledged his 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 ML/ TF.
by Lamin B. Darboe