The Director-General of Intergovernmental Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa, GIABA, Justice Kimelabalou Aba, has reaffirmed that GIABA is still making great progress in checking organised crime and money laundering-related issues in West Africa amidst the COVID-19 pandemic health challenges.
According to him, GIABA still continues to wage a relentless war on such crimes and that the COVID-19 has not disrupted this mandate.
The GIABA DG was addressing a press conference to mark the commencement of the 33rd GIABA plenary and technical commission, in Senegal Dakar on Friday.
GIABA is an institution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) responsible for facilitating the adoption and implementation of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Financing of Terrorism (CFT) in West Africa.
"Under the pandemic, GIABA held very key and important programmes, which include virtual review/validation workshop for a research work that considered strengthening capacity for effective supervision of designated non-financial businesses and professions (DNFBPs) in West Africa and another Virtual National Workshop on Enhancing AML/CFT Compliance by DNFBPs (Dealers in Precious metals and Stones) in Sierra Leone," he said.
He, however, lamented that despite all these efforts and achievements, GIABA is still faced with several challenges, like a low level of AML/CFT knowledge and commitment within the region, as well as poor quality of data to work with.
Aba further noted that He said GIABA also held Regional meetings with Stakeholders/National Correspondents and Heads of Financial Intelligence Units on programme planning and redirection of efforts to achieve results and ensure that the pandemic did not result in creating gaps in its AML/CFT efforts in the region.
He said the 33rd Plenary and Technical Commission of GIABA, which is holding the 33rd Plenary Meeting of its Technical Commission next week, would discuss the progress made by Member States (MS) of GIABA in the implementation of measures to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism (ML/TF).
“They promote discussions between technical experts from Member States on threats and challenges linked to ML/TF. These meetings make it possible to address the relevant issues requiring a concerted approach and the harmonization of effective implementation of AML/CFT measures.
...Finally, as a platform for sharing experiences, plenary sessions provide opportunities for partnerships between experts, representatives of Member States, technical partners and observers in the framework of AML/CFT,” he stated," he indicated.
The DG added that focus henceforth will be set on the review of Mutual Evaluation Processes and Procedures, and updating of the calendar of Mutual Evaluations of GIABA Member States.