Ministers from the countries within Economic Community of West African States are currently meeting in Banjul to discuss issues around money laundering and terrorism financing in the region. The meeting starts today
The Gambia is currently drafting a capital market bill that will punish crimes of market manipulation, an anti-money laundering official in Banjul said.
The law will form part of the country’s legislative measures in its fight against crimes of money laundering and the financing of terrorism, according to Alhagie Darboe, director of Gambia’s financial intelligence unit (FIU).
[This law will] also ensure Gambia’s full compliance in criminalising all predicate offences of money laundering and terrorist financing, he told the 30th technical commission and plenary meeting of the Intergovernmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA).
Gambia came under stern criticisms from GIABA in 2014 after the sub-regional anti-money laundering agency found that the country was “slow” in its implementation of AML/CFT measures.
And there was a call for greater commitment to the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing, a report by GIABA, which monitors and works to prevent the twin crimes, stated.
Gambia was directed to address its AML/CFT “strategic deficiencies” or be named and shamed and subsequently blacklisted as a country not making sufficient progress to improve its AML/CFT system.
One of the main obstacles to implementation of AML/CFT measures in the West African country was “weak law enforcement, low level of reporting and the lack of prosecution and conviction”, according to GIABA.
In 2014, concerns were also raised as to Gambia’s capacity to monitor the full stretch of its borders as smuggling was prevalent despite customs collaborate with Senegal.
The country remains one of the routes for drug trafficking and a thriving underground business of tourism-related human trafficking.
Darboe, who is also the national correspondent for GIABA in Banjul, said Gambia has made momentous progress with the establishment of the FIU and the enactment of the ‘Anti-Money Laundering and Combating of Terrorist Financing Act, 2012’.
Between 2008 and 2012, GIABA placed The Gambia under an “enhanced follow up process” during which the country was required to be reporting every six months on its implementation of AML/CFT measures.
After the establishment of the FIU, Gambia was moved from this “enhanced process” to “expedited process” due to the significant progress registered in the country’s AML/CFT regime, Darboe said on November 15, 2018.
The process of creating a new law on market manipulation is meant to comply with regional and global standards by criminilising all the predicate offences of money laundering.
GIABA’s technical commission and plenary meetings are meant to discuss the threats and challenges associated with anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) within the sub-region.
They are also meant to address relevant issues that require a concerted and harmonized approach to be resolved.
GIABA is a specialized institution of ECOWAS and a Financial Action Task Force–Styled Regional Body (FSRB) responsible for combating the scourge of money laundering and terrorist financing in the sub-regional economic bloc.
It was established by the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS in 2000 with the mandate to protect the national economies and the financial systems of member States from abuse and the laundering of the proceeds of crimes.
Written by Modou S. Joof