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Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) has called for increased collaboration against money laundering in the region.
Director General, GIABA, Mr. Adamu Coulibaly made this call in an address presented at a national sensitisation seminar on money laundering and terrorist financing for journalists organised by GIABA in Lagos, recently.
Coulibaly noted that money laundering and terrorist financing are not new phenomena in West Africa. According to him, typologies had already identified a vast number of money laundering cases in the region, even as he pointed out that financial terrorism were also beginning to be identified in several countries.
He stressed that both menace are obviously intimately linked to corruption.
This is the reason why states in West Africa have a duty to act together in order to combat these threats. This has to be done not only as part of protecting the world economies, including Africa s, against criminal infiltration, but also to enhance the rule of law, deepen regional integration and maintain regional peace and security.
The ECOWAS states are under serious threat of social dislocation or worse unless action is taken now. It is also pointedly within GIABA s specific mandate to facilitate the adoption and implementation by member states of measures against money laundering and financing of terrorism, taking into account specific regional peculiarities and conditions, he added.
Coulibaly argued further that money laundering and financing of terrorism undermine sustainable development by eroding social and human capital, threaten social and political stability, cause an artificial rise in the cost of business and also drives away investment. According to him, both menace also undercuts the ability of member states to initiate or accelerate development.
Government can no longer guarantee the safety of its financial system. Over the past several years, political upheavals due to resource control or simple greed have left many parts of the region in total chaos, with resources for reconstruction inadequate or simply unavailable, he added.
To this end, Coulibaly called for the involvement of all stakeholders, including the media, in the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.