Opening of the WAIFEM course on combating money laundering and financial crimes –

Opening of the WAIFEM course on combating money laundering and financial crimes –

By Jatta Stop

The West African Institute of Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM) Regional Course on Combating Money Laundering and Other Financial Crimes opened on Monday, July 8, 2024 at Pencha Mii Hall, Senegambia.

The main objective of this regional course is to enhance the capacity of participants to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, which can be achieved by providing comprehensive training on the latest trends, techniques and best practices in anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT).

Representing the Director General of WAIFEM, Amadou Corra, Director of the Financial Sector and Payment Systems Department, stressed that money laundering and other financial crimes, including terrorist financing, are significant global problems that pose a serious threat to the integrity of financial systems and national security.

“The West African region is not immune to these threats, with various criminal networks exploiting financial systems to launder illicit gains and finance terrorism. Furthermore, with the high mobility of funds and the rapid development of new payment technologies, the number of financial and economic crimes is increasing and poses a threat to the integrity of the financial system,” Mr. Corra noted.

To address these challenges, he said, a concerted effort by all stakeholders, including financial institutions, regulators, law enforcement and policy makers, is required.

“In this regard, the desire to ensure that officials of relevant agencies are equipped with the necessary skills to combat this menace in the sub-region underpins WAIFEM’s capacity building intervention,” he added.

The Director of the Financial Sector and Payment Systems Department explained that the course aims to equip participants with the knowledge and skills needed to effectively detect, prevent and respond to financial crimes.

Babucarr Cham, Director of Human Resources, Central Bank of The Gambia, speaking on behalf of the Governor General of the CBG, said the growth of organised crime and its negative impact on financial systems is alarming as criminals are using more sophisticated methods to exploit vulnerabilities in their financial systems.

“Money laundering has far-reaching negative consequences for the integrity and soundness of our financial systems, as well as for the economy as a whole. In short, money laundering could undermine economic stability and risk distorting policy decisions,” he stressed.

And, he added, it could create unfair competition in the sense that legitimate businesses might find it difficult to compete with those funded by the illicit proceeds of crime.

“The Central Bank of The Gambia, together with its regional counterparts, has an important role to play in promoting measures to protect our broader economies from the threats of money laundering, terrorist financing and related crimes, and therefore strengthen the integrity of the financial sector and promote economic development,” he added.

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