THE ROLE OF INTER-GOVERNMENTAL ACTION GROUP AGAINST MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORIST FINANCING

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THE ROLE OF INTER-GOVERNMENTAL ACTION GROUP AGAINST MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORIST FINANCING IN WEST AFRICA (GIABA) IN COMBATING MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORIST FINANCING UNDER THE ECOWAS COMMUNITY

ABSTRACT

The ECOWAS Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing in West African (GIABA) is a specialized institution of ECOWAS with a mandate to develop anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism measures, as well as a Financial Action Task Force Style of Regional Body (FSRB) with its headquarters in Dakar, Republic of Senegal. Its mandate is to develop anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing (AML/CTF) measures, and to coordinate regional efforts to combat money laundering (ML) and terrorist financing (TF). Its membership consists of all member states of the ECOWAS. As such it is a regional intergovernmental body which supports the work of the United Nations (UN) in preventing, detecting, deterring and suppressing terrorism, particularly its financing Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing undermine development by eroding Social and Human Capital, affecting Social and Political Stability, causing artificial rise in the cost of business, and thus driving away business and investment and undermining the ability of the states to accelerate development. A society that is infested with terrorism and money laundering is bound to be lawless or order less, and anarchy, will thus, set    in thereby rendering the society undeveloped politically  and  economically.  The research examined how far and successful has GIABA achieved its mandate of combating money laundering and terrorist financing in West Africa. The research also analyzed the problems and challenges being encountered by GIABA in the discharge of its mandate and made some findings and offered suggestions on the best ways  to enhance the discharge of GIABA‘s function. The methodology adopted is the Doctrinal and Empirical methods. The major findings of the research inter alia that member state  of ECOWAS are not represented in FATF, that GIABA is not a law enforcement institutions, even though it is charged with the onerous responsibility of coordinating regional efforts around law enforcement problem; and also GIABA is faced with both institutional and legal problems, i.e. with regards to its mandate, it is only given the power of advice to member states and cannot enforce or investigate any allegation of money laundering or terrorist financing. It is recommended that FATF should consider  at least one potential country in West Africa for FATF membership, otherwise, GIABA should amend its Article 2(c) of the 2006 Statute to withdraw as the FATF Styled Regional Body and also stop promoting FATF norms and values more especially FATF 40+9 Recommendations, the research also recommended that GIABA Statute, 200 6 to be amended more especially Article 2(b) to provide it with an organ like police or law enforcement agency in performing it day-to-day activities under it mandate; and also recommended that GIABA Statutes, 2006 to be amended to provide it with both  coercive and supervisory powers to all the 15 member states on cases of money laundering and terrorist financing.

CHAPTER ONE GENERAL INTRODUCTION

  • Background of the Study

Money laundering and terrorist financing undermine development by eroding social and human capital, affecting social and political stability, causing artificial rise in the cost of business, and thus driving away business and investment and undermining the ability of the states to accelerate development. A State or Society that is infested with Terrorism and Money laundering is bound to be lawless or order less, and anarchy, will thus, set in thereby rendering the society undeveloped politically and economically.

The process of globalization and advancement in modern technology have made West Africa to be more vulnerable to the threats of terrorism and money laundering than any other region of the world. Nigeria, Kenya and some African countries have witnessed the scorch of terrorism: Resources from organized crimes through money laundering have sustained this menace thus the need for a fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. Globalization has resulted in the need for international organization and regional bodies to broaden their focus beyond state – based security threats to encompass, those emanating from non-state perpetrators

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