22 March 2019

West Africa: CSOs Track Illicit Financial Flows in West Africa

Photo: Shell
Oil sector tops U.S.$218 billion illicit financial flows from Nigeria.

Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), in partnership with Transparency Internaßtional (TI), has launched an online anti-money laundering tracker that would monitor illicit financial flows across West Africa.

At the launch of the tracker yesterday in Abuja themed 'Turning up the Pressure: Tackling Money Laundering through Multi-Stakeholder Approaches in ECOWAS Countries', CISLAC executive director, Auwal Musa, explained how the tracker works.

The group expressed dissatisfaction with the European Union (EU)'s blacklist of Nigeria and Ghana for money laundering and terrorism risks.

EU had explained that the two countries were deficient in strategies in the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regimes as well as cooperation with the EU.

He noted that companies with hidden ownership illegally move over $1 trillion yearly from developing countries, of which about $15.7 billion pass through the Nigerian financial system.

Musa, represented by Shina Oke, regretted that these illegal assets gained through non-existent rule of law escape to places with good legal protection and closely-guarded bank secrecy that developed countries and emerging economies offer.

CISLAC programme officer, Gloria Okwu, noted that the objective of the launch was to increase public awareness for and political commitment to anti-money laundering and anti-corruption mechanisms, which effectively prevent, detect, report and sanction the laundering of corrupt and criminal proceeds in Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) countries.

Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Liberia, Cote d'Ivoire, Sierra Leone and Guinea are the implementing countries.

TI representative, Jessica Ebrard, said it was difficult for the people to relate on the performance of government in their respective countries, stressing that implementation of international commitments remains the major problem facing African countries.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has begun sensitisation of consumers in Ekiti State on safety measures against cyber fraud.

According to the regulatory agency, cyber theft has wrecked many Nigerians, making them lose valuable property and money through information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure.

Speaking in Ado-Ekiti yesterday during the 104th consumer outreach programme, Jide Azeez of NCC's Consumer Advocacy Group urged consumers to be cautious of information they divulge to people on social media and other ICT platforms.

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