WAIFEM mobilizes to fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism

The training currently underway at a local hotel in Kotu, aims to expose participants to several courses including an update on anti-money laundering, combating the financing of terrorism, economic and financial crimes; international initiatives in preventing and combating money laundering and other financial crimes.

It will also provide participants with the necessary knowledge to be able to know some of the effects of money laundering on financial systems in order to be able to design anti-money laundering compliance systems for application in financial institutions as well as put in place a risk-based approach in implementing anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing programs; procedures, monitoring tools and investigative techniques to combat money laundering.

Representing WAIFEM Director General, Amadou S. Koora, Director of the Financial Sector and Payment Systems Department, acknowledged that money laundering and other financial crimes, including terrorist financing, are significant global issues 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,” he said.

He recalled that 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 countries.

To address these challenges, it calls for a concerted effort by all stakeholders, including financial institutions, regulators, law enforcement and policy makers.

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

He thanked the Governor, Management and Staff of the Central Bank of The Gambia for their hospitality and excellent logistics.

He also thanked the Intergovernmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) for its technical collaboration and the sponsorship of certain resource persons.

Representing the Governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia, Baboucarr Cham, the bank’s Director of Human Resources, disclosed that the growth of organised crime and its negative impact on financial systems is alarming as criminals are using increasingly sophisticated methods to exploit vulnerabilities in financial systems.

“Therefore, as regulators, policy makers and law enforcement officials, we must strive to counter these threats by continuously improving our knowledge and skills to effectively combat all forms of financial crimes,” he said.

He observed that money laundering has far-reaching negative consequences on the integrity and soundness of financial systems as well as the economy in general.

Cham, while commenting on the effects of money laundering, argued that it could distort economic stability, with the potential to misinform political decisions.

He added that it can also create unfair competition in the sense that legitimate businesses find it difficult to compete with those funded by the illicit proceeds of crime and that it can potentially undermine investor confidence, due to the perceived risks of operating in a corrupt financial environment.

“This could have negative macroeconomic consequences such as massive flows of funds in and out of the country, leading to economic instability, depreciation of the local currency and capital flight problems,” he said.

In her appreciation message, Patricia Adamu, Deputy Director of WAIFEM, expressed gratitude to participants for leaving their busy schedules to attend the event.