Eldred Wlemnongr Thomas
Speaking at the opening Thursday at the Monrovia City Hall, Vice President Joseph Boakia said money laundering and terrorists financing undermine democracy and security, nothing such partnership and efforts by GIABA cannot be over emphasized in fighting the menace.
“All these criminal syndicates scheme to improve their dangerous techniques, we should move swiftly to evolve measures that will put us far ahead of them and Liberia should stand in optimistic anticipation for the successful outcome of forums of this nature, VP Boakai noted.
He said Liberia takes so much in hosting the 27th GIABA Technical Plenary Commission Meeting stressing the threats money laundering and terrorists financing pose to economics and national security.
The Liberian Vice President said the gathering speaks to the remarkable progress Liberia has made in heightening her integrity and building confidence among the comity of nations.
Thou excited about incremental improvement of member states, VP Boakai also acknowledged that others still have deficiencies in some key aspects of their AML/CFT regimes as identified in their Mutual Evaluation Reviews.
He used the occasion to remind delegates of the sustained determination of the forces of evil-money launders working hands in gloves with financiers of terrorism-to keep the wheels of their criminal industry turning, while at the reminding them to be more vigilant in the in fight.
“ It is our information that this form fosters a process aimed at helping member states to resolve their deficiencies identified in their anti money laundering and countering financing of terrorism regimes, the end sought is to ensure compliance with acceptable international standards, Vice President Boakai intimated”
The Plenary is expected to provide update on various initiatives undertaken by the other member states as part of preparatory activities for the second round particularly the conduct of National Risk Assessment which are now the focus o national activities as a prelude to the peer review by member states.
According GIABA Director, The Secretariat will also present some reports and make updates on various typology Nd research studies projects.
The Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) was established by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Authority of Heads of State and Government in the year 2000 a and has its headquarters in Dakar, Senegal.
GIABA is a specialized institution of the Economic Community of West African States responsible for facilitating the adoption and implementation of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Financing of Terrorism (CFT) in West Africa.
The creation of GIABA is a major response and contribution of the ECOWAS to the fight against money laundering.
It is also the FATF Style Regional Body (FSRB) in West Africa and works with states in the region to ensure compliance with international AML/CFT standards.
GIABA consists of 15 member states.
For his part the Director General of GIABA, Adama Coulibally highlighted recent efforts made by Liberia on the personal instruction President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in fighting Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing.
Director Coulibally named the effective participation of the Central Bank of Liberia in all FATF Sessions since those of Busan in 2016, the adoption of many relevant legislations as well as ratification of international conventions to strengthen national AM, CFT regime
Coulibally also touched on the allocation of an office premises to Financial Intelligence Unit and allocation in the national budgetary support for its operations and establishment of the National AML/FCT Policy Coordination Committee comprising of key national stakeholders in AML/FCT and presided over by the Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, Dr. Milton Weeks.
Representatives from member countries, EU, World Bank, heads of commercial banks, law enforcement and policy agencies among others are currently attending the 27th GIABA Technical Plenary Commission Meeting in Monrovia, which runs from May 11-13 2017.