“Conduct technical needs assessment to strengthen fight against money laundering…”, – GIABA, partners told

Madam Stella Attakpah, lead expert at the GIABA/OCWAR-M Regional Workshop

Participants in a joint Regional Workshop on the roles and responsibilities of the Inter-Ministerial Committees (IMCS)/ National Coordination Committees (NCCS) in Anti-Money Laundering/ Countering the Financing of Terrorism & Proliferation (AML/CFT/P) have charged the Intergovernmental Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), its technical and financial partners to “conduct a technical needs assessment  in each country to identify priority areas to provide targeted and tailored assistance in order to strengthen the capacity of IMCs/NCCs; and Conduct high-level advocacy to increase the understanding of AML/CFT standards by high-level authorities to enhance support for the work of IMCS/ NCCs and to reduce high dependence on FIUs”; among other recommendations  contained in a communique.

The three-day workshop organized by GIABA in partnership with OCWAR-M, a European Union AML/CFT Project that covers ECOWAS member countries and Mauritania (implemented by Expertise France) was held at the Hotel Palm Beach, Saly, Senegal, from 31 October to 02 November 2022. With the main objective of the workshop being to discuss the roles and responsibilities of the IMCs/NCCs in countering money laundering, terrorist and proliferation financing, in the light of the outcome of a study commissioned by the OCWAR-M Project, the relevance of the IMCs/NCCs, their effectiveness, the value addition they are making and their sustainability came to bear.

These resulted in some 14 key findings and 20 key recommendations. Refreshing among these findings were the “The political will of high-level authorities in GIABA Member States to enhance the effectiveness of national cooperation mechanisms has increased,” which can be attributed to the experience of Member States in carrying out the national ML/TF risk assessment and lessons learned from the outcomes of the mutual evaluation exercise, as well as the experience of some Member States that were listed in the FATF International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) process.

With the OCWAR-M Project Coordinator, Mme Stéphanie Berthomeau (first right) and Director, Research and Planning Division, GIABA, Mr. Umaru Muazu (second)

In an engagement with the security expert who undertook the research for OCWAR-M (contracted by Expertise France) on the IMCs/NCCs, who presented the findings at the joint GIABA/ EU-OCWAR-M regional workshop, Madam Stella Attakpah, noted that participants were generally in agreement with the research findings and recommendations. Madam Stella Attakpah, the MD of Opportunity and Risk Management Institute highlighted the important pledges made by “GIABA at the workshop e.g. establishment of an ICM/NCC Forum and inclusion of NCC/IMC heads in all GIABA plenaries and other functions”.

Workshop Participants

Among Government officials who attended the regional workshop were Honourable Ministers Dr. John A.  Kumah (Deputy Minister for Finance, Republic of Ghana), Alfred Tuah  Yeboah (Deputy Attorney General and Deputy Minister of Justice, Republic of Ghana), Tuan NYENATI, Deputy Minister of Justice, Republic of Liberia and Bockarie KALOKOH (Deputy Minister of Finance, Republic of Sierra Leone).  The Chairs and members of the IMCs/NCCs and the Leadership of the Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) also attended the event.

Presenting the findings of the IMCs/NCCs research to the participants

The establishment of the IMCs/NCCs was initiated in 2006 by GIABA in line with the FATF Recommendation 2, which requires that countries put in place national mechanisms to coordinate AML/CFT efforts and facilitate inter-agency cooperation among competent authorities.

The IMCs/NCCs used to be the National Correspondents of GIABA, but due to the high turnover of their members, the GIABA Ministerial Committee, in 2010, decided to reconsider its decision and to appoint the Financial Intelligent Unit Heads to serve as National Correspondents. The refocusing on the FIUS as the National Correspondents by GIABA resulted in the IMCs/NCCs becoming dormant and ineffective.

Story & pictures compiled by:

ORMI Communication Team

With the Director General of GIABA, Mr. Edwin W. HARRIS Jr.

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