By C. Winnie Saywah-Jimmy
Inter- Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) in collaboration with Financial Intelligent Unit (FIU) of Liberia have conducted a one day open house forum targeting youths in the fight against transnational organized crimes.
The forum is designed to foster and strengthen partnership between GIABA and youths on the negative effect of money laundering and terrorist financing in the region.
Opening the session on Monday, April 7, the Director General of GIABA represented by Moustapha Guirassy stressed that money laundering and terrorist financing undermine sustainable development by eroding social and human capital and threaten social and political stability.
“The proceeds of crime fuel corruption which in turn facilities the commission of crimes and undermines the rule of law. The result of inadequate rule of law is a sense of general insecurity which renders the state incapable of attracting enough foreign direct investment,” he stated.
He noted that over the past several years, political upheavals due to resource control or simple greed have left many parts of the region in total chaos, which resources for reconstruction inadequate or simply unavailable.
At the same time the Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Justice, Benedict Sannoh said that money laundering has become a serious issue in the region because countries in the region share the same values and culture.
He stressed that to fight money laundering, there should be total coordination between countries in the region. He stated that it is critical that the youths of countries in the region get to know what is occurring and that they should be aware of their conduct to national peace and stability.
Cllr. Sannoh also representing the FIU Board of Directors said it has been noticed also that money laundering is a conduct of warlords who turn bad money into good money and undermine the peace and stability of the entire region.
He said already GIABA has recognized several roles which range from regional contents, independence amongst countries to national security. Cllr. Sannoh explained how the role of the FIU is not isolated rather it involves the work of all security sectors including the police, CIDs, Immigration as well as the banks.
He urged youths who are the major perpetrators of such crimes to desist from being used to carry out money laundering as well as black money in the region. The Director General of the FIU, Alex Cuffy welcomed the participants and guests by reiterating how money laundering that counter-Financing terrorism poses problems to security.
Mr. Cuffy acknowledged that Liberia had been lagging behind in combating AML/CFT and explained how the FIU was established thereby calling for the need of every citizen’s support as it is only a collective effort if Liberia is to create an AML/CFT regime.
Presenting the overview of AML/CFT frame work in West Africa, the Director of Programs and Projects at GIABA, Buno Nduka, said money laundering has two parts namely third party and self party and that money laundering is a derivative offence.
He said 21 categories of such crime is based on predicated offences and common in West Africa are corruption, bribery, drug trafficking, smuggling, counterfeiting and piracy of products as well as advanced fraud known as 419.
Meanwhile, a communiqué was derived by the participants which was adopted at the close of the session.