Dr. Buno Nduka, director of Evaluation Inter-Governmental Action again Money laundering in West Africa (GIABA has urged The Gambia government to intensify efforts to criminalise the full range of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) designated predicate offences of money laundering – especially market manipulation as the fight against money laundering and its organised crimes intensifies.
He made remarks on behalf of the Director General of GIABA on Monday at the opening of five days local of Gambia 2nd round of Mutual Pre-Assessment forum in a local hotel. The training brought together officials from GIABA, FIU, and other stakeholders from different sectors in The Gambia.
“The Country also needs to carry out capacity building of Law Enforcement Agency (LEAs) on effective investigation of Money Laundering/Combating Terrorism Financing cases. The Gambia should ensure that all reporting entities especially Designated Non-Financial Bodies and Professionals (DNFBPs) and non-bank financial institutions comply with anti-money laundering and combating terrorism financing obligations and are monitored for this purpose,” Dr. Buno Nduka said.
He further went on: “The country also needs to expedite action in the passage of all pending bills, especially the Money laundering act in criminal matters bill, 2017; capital markets bill, 2017, and the AML/CFT (amendment) bill, 2017.”
The GIABA mutual evaluation, he said, is not a punitive process but designed to help identify progress and constraints within the AML/CFT systems of a country, saying: “The outcomes of the exercise will enable GIABA and the development partners to determine the kind of technical assistance needed by the country for improving its AML/CFT measures.”
Dr. Nduka maintained that this exercise provides the international community with data on the country’s financial, legal and governance frameworks, and thus creates a platform for the country to attract foreign direct investment. Thus, the country is required to be committed to this process in order to ensure its success.
For his part, Momodou Saho, the deputy Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit of The Gambia (FIU) said the pre-assessment training provides an important platform through which stakeholders of The Gambia’s Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime can be exposed to and acquaint themselves with the assessment process.
According to him, the knowledge and awareness to be gained by stakeholders will allow for a smooth and productive assessment process, hence the outcome of which will form the basis for the Gambia’s 2nd round Mutual Evaluation.
“Initiatives like this training, especially within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic; underscore the commitment of GIABA in supporting member’s states to achieve the common objectives of combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation.”
Speaking earlier on, deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affaire, Juldeh Ceesay, on behalf of the Finance Minister said: “The work of the International bodies such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and regional organizations like GIABA is especially crucial in this context, in helping to preserve the integrity of financial systems and national economic.”
The Gambia Government, she went on, is committed in providing the enabling environment and support to ensure that the Gambia’s AML/CFT regime is a robust and effective mechanism for detecting and mitigating the risks of money laundering and financing of terrorism and proliferation.