Nigeria To Host 40th ECOWAS GIABA Anti-Money Laundering Plenary

 

The Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) is holding its 40th Technical Commission/Plenary and its 27th Ministerial Committee meeting in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

GIABA is a specialized institution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) that is responsible for strengthening the capacity of member states towards the prevention and control of money laundering and terrorist financing in the region.

Apart from member states, GIABA grants Observer Status to African and non-African States, as well as Inter-Governmental Organizations that support its objectives and actions and which have applied for observer status.

The GIABA Technical Commission is an assembly of experts, including

representatives of member States (MS), development partners and observers in the fight against money laundering (ML) and terrorist financing (TF), who meet twice yearly to share their experiences with respect to the challenges faced in implementing effective Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter Financing of Terrorism (CFT) measures.

In his opening remarks at the plenary, the Director General of GIABA, Mr. Edwin W. Harris Jnr informed participants that the Technical Commission/ Plenary are fundamental in the assessment of the activities of GIABA.

“Our gathering here remains one additional evidence that our collective effort in the fight against Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and others forms of transnational crimes urgently requires coordination and cooperation with oneness of purpose in protecting our economies and preventing other adverse activities to our national and regional security”.

“Results from accessed countries thus far published from the second-round show progress has been made in terms of technical compliance across member States, however, fundamental major improvements are required in terms of effectiveness”.

In his goodwill message to participants at the Plenary, Vice President of the Financial Action Task Force, FATF, Mr. Jeremy Weil, , commended GIABA members nation’s collective efforts in supporting effective Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter Financing of Terrorism (CFT) measures within the region.

He solicited that such efforts should be sustained.

“I’d like to take a moment today to recognize all those who have led and championed this work, including GIABA members, the GIABA Secretariat, and of course the GIABA contact group co-led by Senegal and Ghana, with participation of Nigeria, Ivory Coast and the ECOWAS Commission”.

“Ultimately, your hard-won gains can only be sustained through the collective will and effort of the people in this room, the GIABA membership”.

While declaring the Technical Commission/Plenary open, Nigeria’s Minister of Justice, Lateef Olasunkanmi Fagbemi stated that:

“As the regional institution responsible for strengthening the capacity of member States to fight money laundering and terrorist financing, the importance of GIABA has only increased over the decades. Across our sub region, we face myriad of challenges, from the threats of illicit financial flow to the existential dangers posed by terrorist groups. These challenges are not confined to our sub region alone, but span across the

globe and in this respect, the importance of regional and international cooperation must be at the core of our efforts to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction”.

He noted that leaders of member countries must provide a conducive environment for organisations saddled with the responsibility of fighting money laundering and financial crimes carry out their assignments without hindrance:

“It is important that we take time to reflect on how we, as leaders, in our countries have contributed to strengthening our national AML/CFT/CPF frameworks. I believe that the FATF Standards are merely the minimum benchmark that we must all aspire to in order to address the serious criminal offences that are prevalent in our countries and across our region.

As part of the statutory meetings, the 27th meeting of the GIABA Ministerial Committee (GMC) will also hold on Saturday, 18th November, 2023.

The GMC is the policy making organ of GIABA. It comprises the three GIABA line ministers from all member States (Ministries of Finance, Security/Interior and Justice).

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