West Africa Enforces AML Rules

May 1, 2012 International Tax Cooperation

Money laundering in Western AfricaDAKAR – The countries of Western Africa need to do more in their fight against money laundering and terrorism financing occurring in the region.

At the annual session of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), held recently in Dakar, the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), a specialized institution established by the ECOWAS, gave a report on its assessment of the current implementation of rules for anti-money laundering and combating terrorist financing (AML/CTF) in the countries of West Africa.

According to the director general of GIABA Abdullahi Shehu, who presented the findings during the meeting, the Group’s evaluations shows that the countries of Western Africa are still struggling to adequately to instate effective laws to fight these types of illicit activates.

Abdullahi Shehu commended the countries of ECOWAS for their recent efforts to establish national financial intelligence units in order to improve joint investigation ability. However, he noted that many of the units are not operating at full capacity and are limited in their ability to receive new data or to launch investigations into suspected cases of money laundering.

The director general said that money laundering and terrorist financing were both trans-border crimes, and require high levels of international cooperation to prevent. He suggested that the countries of Western Africa need to work closer together to eliminate the occurrence money laundering, and even called for tax authorities and financial intelligence units to pool their resources in order to find offenders.

Currently, the member countries of ECOWAS are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

Photo by babasteve