Collaborate to curb money laundering, terrorists financing – Finance Minister

The Minister for Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta has called on members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to strengthen collaboration to curb the menace of money laundering and financing of terrorists activities in the sub-region.

“We must arise and provide innovative and collective preventive measures which adapt to growing risks, build resilience and ultimately prevent the next security and humanitarian disaster,” he added.

Mr Ofori-Atta said this at the opening ceremony of the 36thInter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA)/Technical Plenary Commission in Accra yesterday.

The meeting will discuss threat of money laundering and Counter Financing of terrorism issues in the sub-region.

The meeting,hosted in Ghana brought together experts including representatives of member states, ministers of states, diplomatic corps, representatives of sister security agencies and the Judiciary.

He said the phenomenon was underpinned by several factors including the presence of large, informal, cash-based economies, weak and porous borders, political instability, ethnic and communal violence, corruption, poverty and unemployment.

The minister said money laundering, terrorist financing and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction continue to post enormous risks to the global financial system. Peace and socio-economic development.

He said efforts should be put in place to identify sources of funds for terrorist, freeze them and use every legal means to ensure they never get access to the fund again.

“With the West African sub-region not left off the hook, currently being a major region of concern regarding terrorists financing and its activities,” he added.

The minister commended GIABA for their contribution in strengthening the capacity of member states and assured of Ghana’s commitment to collaborate with stakeholders to combat the menace of transnational oragnised crime.

He commended members states who have undergone the round of mutual evaluation exercise and their report duly adopted.

The Director-General of GIABA, Justice Kimelabalow ABA in an address, welcomed members from Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde and Union of the Comoros to the GIABA.

He thanked countries contributing to enriching and improving the draft document distributed to delegates.

Justice ABA said exactly in February 2021, the Financial Action Task Force(FATF) initiated a process to help improve mutual evaluations.

“It is within this framework that an action plan was adopted in June 2021 which defines three major levels of intervention relating to the resources and organisation of the Secretariat, on the one hand,the management and effectiveness of the mutual evaluation and follow-up processes,” he added.

The GIABA National Coordinator in Ghana, Mr Kwaku Dua, who is also the Chairman of the GIABA Technical Commission and Plenary said the use of visual asserts, increase in cybercrime, aggressive tax avoidance scheme among others were all facilitated by the use of information technology which was creating a new set of challenges.

BY ANITA NYARKO-YIRENKYI

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