By Maimuna Sey-Jawo
Financial Intelligence Unit of The Gambia (FIU) last Monday completed a training for casino operators and betting companies on measures to prevent money laundering.
The three-day convergence was designed to harmonise the implementation of preventive measures on money laundering and terrorism financing.
Alagie Darboe, director general of the FIU Gambia, said the training was the fourth of a series of trainings being organised under the Strengthening Anti- Money Laundering Capacities in West Africa (SAMWA), project. The EU-funded project is working with the Inter- Government Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (Giaba).
“The focus of this training is on two sets of operators in The Gambian economy; Casino and gaming establishments. It is also for dealers in precious stones and metals. At the end of this training, more knowledge and awareness will be gained in terms of the required measures relevant to anti- money laundering compliance that when applied, will provide the necessary safeguards against these vulnerabilities and in turn maintain the integrity of The Gambia’s financial system.”
Lamin Camara, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, said the precious minerals sector has been vulnerable for far too long to money laundering. He called for sustained efforts to end it.
“…Precious stones and metals can be purchased with illegal funds such as the proceeds of drug or human trafficking and proceeds from trade-based money laundering schemes,” Camara noted.
He said Precious stones and mental can also be used as a cover for laundering illicit funds acquired through other crimes, or used as an alternative to purchase prohibited or restricted items such as drugs and weapons.
He reaffirmed his ministry’s commitment to the “important task of achieving an effective and robust anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing regimes in The Gambia”.
He told participants to embrace this “call to action,” and expressed hope that the training programme will prepare these institutions respond effectively to issues surrounding money laundering.