The Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) said here last Friday that has made ?progress ?in its efforts aimed at combating money laundering and terrorism financing.
?? It said it has been leading efforts designed to ensure that its member states are in compliance with the international standards of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) rules.
?? Director General (DG) of GIABA, Abdullahi Sheibu (Ph D) made these remarks at the opening of the sub-region?s maiden Inter-Universities Contest on Impact of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing.
?? ?Economic and financial crimes, including money laundering and terrorism financing are not victimless crimes as they unleash different dimensions of negative consequences. Corruption has been noted to have an almost casual effect for violent conflicts,? Sheibu observed.
?? Global statistics on corruption, conflict and human development reveals that countries rated in ?the most corrupt? category are also the countries with the lowest human development index (HDI) as well as being the countries that have gone through internal armed conflict, added the DG.
?? He described as unacceptable the number of people who have died, and the numbers who have been permanently incapacitated and the infrastructure that have been destroyed, institutions that are paralyzed with the countless number of victims as a result of these crimes..
?? ?Therefore we have come to a point where the only choice left to us is to draw up strategies to combat economic and financial crimes at global, regional, national, community and individual levels, and to cooperate, collaborate, coordinate and complement every effort aimed at achieving this goal.
?? The overriding strategic focus of the plan is to foster, sustain and strengthen a regional alliance of committed stakeholders in the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism in West Africa.
?? The sub-region is under threat from two major terrorist groups; Boko Haram operating in Northern Nigeria and the Tuaregs in Republic of Mali.
?? Thousands of people have been killed since Boko Haram launched its campaign in 2009 to install Islamic law in Northern Nigeria.
?? ?The basic premise of GIABA?s actions in the region is to promote peace, integrity, security and?justice?for all of its citizens as enunciated in ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) VISION 2020,? Sheibu added.
?? In his message, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana?s Financial Intelligence Center?Samuel?Essel?said in this day of combating financial and organized crimes, youths must be aware that money laundering is a product of certain economic and organized crimes, money laundering.
?? He said tertiary students in particular need to be made aware of the causes of money laundering and measures put in place to combat it before leaving school to go job-hunting.
?? Students from the universities in Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, The Gambia joined their counterparts in Ghana for the one-day event.
Story by?Justice?Lee Adoboe