The Inter-Governmental Action against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) on Monday began a five-day forum for Gambia's 2nd Round of Mutual Pre-Assessment at a local hotel in Senegambia.
The exercise provides the international community with data on the country's financial, legal and governance frameworks, and thus creates a platform for the country to attract foreign direct investment.
It attracted stakeholders from GIABA, FIU, and different sectors in The Gambia.
Dr. Buno Nduka, director of Evaluation and Compliance on behalf GIABA DG, urged government of The Gambia to intensify its efforts in criminalising the full range of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) designated predicate offences of money laundering; especially market manipulation as the fight against money laundering and its organised crimes intensifies.
"The country also needs to carry out capacity building of Law Enforcement Agency (LEAs) on effective investigation of Money Laundering/Combating Terrorism Financing cases. The Gambia should ensure that all reporting entities especially Designated Non-Financial Bodies and Professionals (DNFBPs) and non-bank financial institutions comply with anti-money laundering and combating terrorism financing obligations and are monitored for this purpose," Dr. Buno Nduka said.
The Gambia, he added, also needs to expedite action in the passage of all pending bills, especially the Money Laundering Act in criminal matters bill, 2017; capital markets bill, 2017, and the AML/CFT (amendment) bill, 2017."
Dr. Nduka maintained that the exercise also provides the international community with data on the country's financial, legal and governance frameworks, reminding that the country is required to be committed to this process in order to ensure its success.
For his part, Momodou Saho, deputy Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit of The Gambia (FIU) said the pre-assessment training provides an important platform through which stakeholders of The Gambia's Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime can be exposed to and acquaint themselves with the assessment process.
He explained that the knowledge and awareness to be gained by stakeholders would allow for a smooth and productive assessment process; hence the outcome of the forum that will form the basis for the Gambia's 2nd round Mutual Evaluation.
"Initiatives like this training, especially within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic; underscore the commitment of GIABA in supporting member states to achieve the common objectives of combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation."
Earlier on, Juldeh Ceesay, deputy permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs on behalf of the Finance Minister, stated that the work of international bodies such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and regional organizations like GIABA are crucial in helping to preserve the integrity of financial systems and national economy.
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