By Mustapha Jallow
The Gambia’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in collaboration with the Inter-governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), on Tuesday urged Gambian journalists to feed the masses with accurate information on economic and financial crimes across the globe.
GIABA is a group established to tackle terrorism financing and money laundering.
Momodou Saho, Deputy Director General Head of Compliance and Prevention for FIU, who was representing the FIU Director General, urged the journalists to be mindful in terms of accuracy when reporting on Anti-Money Laundering/Combating of Terrorist Financing (AML/CTF) related matters.
“It is crucial for the public to receive accurate information on these matters as misinformation and inaccuracy may lead to undesirable consequences for the country. Therefore, in the event that misleading or inaccurate information is published or broadcasted by media houses, we urge you (journalists) to take swift action to ensure that it’s addressed in a timely manner,’’ he said.
“It is my hope that the network of journalists established will lead to an improvement in the accuracy of reporting in matters related to crime and criminality in both The Gambia and across the region. This will help raise the awareness on Anti-money Laundering, Combating of Terrorist Financing and other related crimes in The Gambia.’’
According to Investopedia, Money laundering is the illegal process of making large amounts of money generated by a criminal activity, such as drug trafficking or terrorist funding, appear to have come from a legitimate source. The money from the criminal activity is considered dirty, and the process “launders” it to make it look clean.
The one-day session was aimed at strengthening the capacities of journalists in investigations related to economic and financial crimes, to create a strong alliance with the media in order to combine efforts for effective dissemination of anti-money laundering issues, capital and terrorist funding.
It also seeks to inform the media of regional initiatives, particularly within the mandate of (GIABA) and improve the network of journalists who promote good dissemination of information on Anti-Money Laundering/Combating Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) systems.
Saho further highlighted what the FIU, The Gambia and GIABA have demonstrated over the past years on the importance of the media in the fight against money laundering/terrorist financing by ensuring that the media is always present, engaged and informed on all their public activities and events.
He added that the programme was expected to create and maintain a network of journalists across the region, who will help to continuously raise public awareness campaigns on the negative consequences of money laundering/terrorist funding.
Alphousseyni Diamanka, Acting Director of General GIABA, who also represented the Director General of GIABA, said the media must not allow itself to be used by suspected money launderers and looters in public treasury.
He said the fight against money laundering cannot be effective without the media’s involvement in the battle, adding that the media has a role to play to ensure the masses are educated on issues of money laundering. He also urged journalists to directly investigate and track down all those involve inthese criminal activities.
Meanwhile, the session was organized and funded by GIABA and coordinated by FIU. It was held at a local hotel in Senegambia and attended by 25 journalists from different media houses.