President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has called for stringent measures to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing in West Africa.
Speaking at the 17th Ministerial Committee Meeting of the Inter-Government Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) Saturday in Monrovia, Johnson-Sirleaf said countries in the region lose over US$10 billion annually to money laundering and terrorist financing while over US$50 billion is also lost annually in Africa.
According to President Johnson-Sirleaf, these resources supposed to be used for the development and empowerment of the people, stressing that all must be done to counteract money laundering and terrorist financing activities in the region.
She said the issues of porous borders and weak laws relative to combating money laundering and terrorist financing need to be looked at by every member country of GIABA.
The Liberian Leader, who is also Chairperson of ECOWAS, acknowledged that while other countries have made significant progress in putting in place policies to fight money laundering and terrorist financing, Liberia is behind.
She promised to ensure that Liberia moves faster in putting in place necessary policies and measures aimed at putting the country on the right trajectory to tackle illicit financial activities.
President Johnson-Sirleaf told GIABA delegates that the recent increase in terrorist activities in the sub-region obligate countries to do more in preventing funding from those illegal groups.
Earlier, GIABA Director General Adam Coulibaly said the ministerial meeting was intended to examine progress and challenges in fighting money laundering and terrorist financing.
He said GIABA will work with member states in freezing and seizing assets of money launderers and financiers of terrorists.
Mr. Coulibaly also said GIABA will work with member states to build their capacities to effectively battle illegal financial activities.
Representatives from the 17 GIABA member states and partners attended the ministerial meeting.