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Trillions of dollars are lost yearly through money laundering- 1st Deputy Governor

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By Ndey Sowe

Dr. Saiku A.K. Jabbie, the First Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of the Gambia has said IMF and World Bank reports indicate that criminals launder an estimated three to nearly four trillion US Dollars each year, saying money laundering and terrorism financing are morally and ethically inappropriate, illegitimate and punishable by Law.

Jabbie made these remarks during the commencement of a three day workshop on money laundering and terrorism financing held on Wednesday August 14th 2019, at a local hotel in Senegambia.

The event is organized by the inter-governmental action group against money laundering (GIABA), to combat money laundering and terrorism financing in the Gambia and within the sub-region.

Dr. Jabbie said the problems of money laundering and terrorism continues to take center stage everywhere in the world; that this has resulted to institutions being required to establish increasingly, complex safeguards to combat them.

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“We need to fight this battle the smart way by effectively and efficiently directing the limited resources to combat the risk we face daily,” he said; that this can only be done through proper risk identification and assessment. He urged institutions to be at the forefront in the fight against money laundering, terrorist financing and other financial crimes.

Muazu Umar, Director of Policy and Research at GIABA said money laundering and terrorism financing undermines the stability and integrity of financial systems and subjects them to being used as gateways for the conversion of illicit proceeds; that this could lead to reputational damage and exposure to legal risk and can reduce business risk appetite thereby undermining economic growth.

‘‘As part of the global efforts to effectively counter the threats of money laundering and terrorism financing, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in 2012, issued revised standards for combating them,’’ he said; that a poor understanding of the ML/TF risks by reporting entities, has adverse implications for the effective implementation of AML/CFT preventive measures which he said, has resulted in weak CDD culture, weak suspicious transaction reporting and indiscriminate de-risking of clients.

Alagie Darboe, Director at the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the Central Bank, said the workshop compliments the efforts of the FIU in ensuring a robust AML/CFT framework in the Gambia.

“Money laundering and the financing of terrorism are crimes that have significant negative economic impacts,” he said; that crimes of money laundering and terrorism financing has the ability to misallocate resources and income distribution, distort asset and commodity prices, and breeds social ills such as economic crimes and corruption among others. He added this can damage the integrity of our financial systems. He indicated that it can also result in significant costs on our regional economy by damaging the effective operations of national economies and promoting weak economic policies.

FIU early this year, presided over series of training for institutions and officers such as Lawyers, accountants, notaries, financial institutions and independent practitioners among others, in order to harmonize the implementation of preventive measures on money laundering, both within the Gambia and the rest of the sub-region.

The trainings were funded by the European Union (EU) in collaboration with GIABA, a specialized institution of ECOWAS responsible for strengthening the capacity of member’s states towards the prevention and control of money laundering and terrorism financing within the region. Apart from member states, GIABA also grants observer status to African and non-African countries as inter-governmental organizations that support its objectives and actions and which have applied for observer status.

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