The leadership of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), says as terrorist activities continue to be visible in West Africa with several attacks recorded in some countries; it is time that all stakeholders including the media collaborate in combating the menace.
A statement delivered by Alphousseinig Diamanka on behalf of GIABA’s Director General, Justice Kimelabalou ABA on November 26, 2019 at the opening of a three-day training for investigative journalists, and experienced media practitioners of West Africa, notes with emphasis that “As you may be aware, our sub-region is today confronted with several threats related to transnational organized crimes; this situation, with its dramatic effects on our member states, therefore, warrants all stakeholders’ commitment and efforts in preventing, and combating the scourges of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing.”
Justice Kimelabalou ABA’s statement also pointed out that in implementing its intervention strategy, GIABA has enhanced and expanded the stakeholder scope to non-traditional entities with a view to ensuring a global, and complementary approach to the fight.
“One of the entities include the media, which plays a paramount role in promoting good governance, drawing governments’ sustained attention to value for money in expending public resources, enhancing the protection of citizens’ rights and guaranteeing the production of information on Money Laundering practices, and other related offenses,” the statement said.
The GIABA’s Director General’s statement, therefore places the media in the position of being very important in disseminating messages about Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing which, according to him, cannot be neglected.
Journalists attending the training represent West Africa, both Anglophone and Francophone countries.
This is not the first time GIABA is training and acquainting journalists with information about Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing.
It can be recalled that since 2009 GIABA, has been carrying out awareness-raising programs for media professionals, resulting in the establishment of a regional network of investigative journalists specialized in reporting economic and financial crimes.
According to the Director General, GIABA’s 2016-2020 Strategic Plan of evolving global AML/CFT outlook following the revision of the French Anti-Terrorist Task Force (FATE) Standards and Methodology, focuses on the obligation to make regional AML/CFT interventions more effective.
“It aims at contributing to member states’ AML/CFT efforts and strengthening the commitment of non-state actors and critical sectors playing crucial roles in the effective implementation of AML/CFT measures,” the statement adds.
Still acknowledging the vital role of the media in terms of credible information to the public on financial crimes, Director Justice Kimelabalou ABA said the workshop for journalists in Monrovia is a demonstration of their institution’s firm determination to pursue and strengthen its alliance with media actors in adopting collective measures against crimes of all kinds threatening member states of GIABA.
The opening session of the workshop was attended by government officials, including Edwin W. Harris, Director for Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Samora Wolokollie, Deputy Minister for Fiscal Affairs at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, and Attorney Daniel C. Gayedyu Jr, acting Information Minister.
The three officials in separate statements, but concurring views challenged the journalists to be resilient and report stories that are truthful, factual and accurate, noting that with their crucial roles the public depends on them for nothing else other than the truth as financial crimes get on the increase.