Officials of the sub-regional bloc ECOWAS are meeting in Monrovia to brainstorm at the 27th Plenary of an Inter-governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa or GIABA.
At the opening of the meeting on Wednesday, 10 May in Monrovia, European Union Representative Mr. Antoine GouzeeDeharveen said money laundering is one of the contributing factors that leads to corruption and also prevents the state from functioning properly.
Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, Guinea and Senegal are being hosted in the Liberian capital at the GIABA 27th Plenary that began since Monday at the Monrovia City Hall and graced by dignitaries from some countries within the sub-regional bloc.
The plenary meeting assembles experts including representatives of member states, development partners and observers in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.
The event offers an opportunity for member states to come together and share their experiences with respect to the challenges they face in implementing effective anti – money laundering and counter terrorism measures.
Mr. Deharveensays money laundering has a negative governmental impact on the society, including the economy and other democratic institutions. Consideration and approval of reports on the mutual evaluation of member states are key elements expected to be high on the agenda during the meeting.
According to Mr. Deharveen, money laundering has been a threat, and it is one of the priorities of the EU on grounds that his institution has internet security strategy in place that will fight against organized crime such as money laundering.
The EU Envoy says the entire West African region is faced with this organized crime situation, prompting the meeting that is being held here in Liberia to put some measures in place. Also speaking, GIABA Director General Mr. Adama Coulibaly says the meeting in Liberia is to strengthen the relationship between GIABA, ECOWAS and the EU.
He says through the, they will strengthen the entire anti – money laundering and terrorism financing measures in West Africa. Though he notes that they are facing financial difficulties, he however remains confident that they will use the meeting in Monrovia to support the budget of the member states.
He concludes that GIABA is seeking to assess what has been done in the member states so far and to create the opportunity for the Financial Intelligence Unit or FIU to make ownership of discussions taking place in Monrovia.
By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Winston W. Parley