By Lamin Jahateh
A number of strategic deficiencies have been identified in The Gambia efforts to tackle money laundering and terrorism financing, although it has registered some progress in tackling the twin evils.
The 2013 annual report of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), released on Monday showed that The Gambia has not addressed a number of the strategic deficiencies in its Anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) system.
GIABA, an arm of Ecowas mandated to fight money laundering and terrorism financing in the sub-region, said the most crucial of these deficiencies are the non-criminalization of the full range of predicate offences, absence of effective laws and procedures for implementing United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions 1267 and 1373, and lack of ratification of various instruments on counterterrorism.
Imminent drastic actions
At the GIABA November 2013 plenary, The Gambia was called upon to demonstrate greater commitment to the implementation of its AML/CFT measures.
The country was directed to address its AML/CFT strategic deficiencies among others failing which a public statement will be published on the country.
Also, if the deficiencies are not addressed urgently, GIABA said The Gambia will soon be blacklisted for not making sufficient progress to improve its AML/CFT system.
“The consequences of this action on the country’s economy will be enormous,” the report stated, though it does not specified the repercussion.
In the report, GIABA said these serious measures have been taken against The Gambia because of the high risk associated with the country’s low compliance to international standards to tackle money laundering and terrorism financing.
For GIABA, The Gambia therefore needs to mobilize all required resources, including political commitment at the highest level, in order to mitigate the money laundering and terrorism financing risks it faces.