The Inter-governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) has commenced its 27th plenary meeting (May 7-13) to develop strategies to contain money laundering.

Antoine Gouzee Deharveen, European Union (EU) envoy, explained that money laundering in the West African region needs urgent intervention to protect countries.

Mr. Deharveen said Liberia will benefit if the citizens combine efforts to search for what they want to be accomplished to achieve the country’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

With regard to money laundering, Deharveen said it is one of the contributing factors that leads to corruption, and prevents the state from functioning properly.

Money laundering, he said, also has a negative impact on the government, the society and the economy.

Mr. Deharveen spoke to an assembly of experts, including some representatives of member states of ECOWAS (Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, Guinea, Senegal and host Liberia), development partners, and observers. The key element during the meeting will consider reports to be evaluated from member states.

He said money laundering is one of the priorities of the EU, for which they have internet security strategies in place to fight against organized crime.

According to the Director General of the Inter-governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa, Mr. Adama Coulibaly, the meeting in Liberia is aimed at strengthening the relationship between GIABA, ECOWAS, and the European Union

“We are seeking to assess what have been done in our member states so far and we are seeking to achieve and create the opportunity for the Financial Intelligence Unit to take ownership of what we are going to discuss here,” Mr. Coulibaly said.

He said they will bring up key strategies to strengthen anti-money laundering and terrorism financing laws in West Africa.

Mr. Coulibaly said despite financial difficulties, they will use the meeting to support the budget of each member state of West Africa.

The event, which began on Monday at the Monrovia City Hall, offers an opportunity for member states to share experiences with respect to the challenges they face in their respective countries.

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