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FIU validates anti-money laundering bill 2024

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By Olimatou Coker

The Financial Intelligence Unit has held  a stakeholder workshop to validate the Anti-Money Laundering, Combating Terrorist Financing and Proliferation Financing (AML/CFT/PF) Bill 2024.

This draft bill is the culmination of intense and sustained efforts aimed at addressing the technical compliance deficiencies in the country’s AML/CFT legal framework, which have been identified, following the publication of The Gambia’s 2nd Round of Mutual Evaluation report in June 2022.  

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The Bill provides a clearer and more comprehensive definition of Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs), which is in line with FATF Recommendation 12.

Alhagie Darbor, director of FIU, said the draft Bill is not merely a response to external scrutiny, but signifies a proactive step towards strengthening financial resilience, complying with international standards and ultimately consolidating the country’s AML/CFT regime.

He added that The Gambia’s commitment to combating money laundering and terrorist financing and all forms of financial crime remains unwavering. “Indeed, if the report of The Gambia’s 2nd Round of Mutual Evaluation is to go by, the country became the first in the ECOWAS region to score a moderate rating of effectiveness in relation to confiscation and provisional measures.”

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Siaka Bah, representative of the Central Bank of the Gambia, said the effective implementation of robust anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism and proliferation measures remains a key priority for all. “Strengthening the regulatory confidence that investors have in The Gambia is of paramount importance, as we aspire to become a recognized International Financial Centre. The Central Bank of The Gambia continues to apply strong market entry requirements for financial institutions to ensure the integrity of the sector.

“The threat of money laundering and the financing of terrorism remains a pervasive challenge, because it legitimizes illegal activities, undermines the integrity of our financial system, facilitates corruption, poses significant reputation risks, and makes crime profitable. When financial institutions are used by criminals or terrorists, it does not only tarnish the institution’s reputation but also that of our entire country. This will jeopardize our international business relations and ultimately hamper economic growth.”

He added that CBG is committed to collaborating with domestic and international authorities to effectively combat all forms of financial crimes and ensure that The Gambia becomes a safe haven for investment.

“As we move forward, it is crucial that we maintain our collective commitment to implementing the provisions of this Bill effectively. This will require continued collaboration, transparency, and vigilance. The Central Bank stands ready to provide the necessary support and guidance to all stakeholders especially the FIU as we embark on this important journey together.let us acknowledge that the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism is not just a regulatory obligation, but a moral imperative. By validating and implementing this Bill, we are taking a decisive step towards creating a safer, more transparent, and more prosperous Gambia.”

Amie Khan, Representative of the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Finance, called on all stakeholder institutions to fully commit to the implementation of this legislation when it is finally enacted.

“It is imperative that these authorities make the best use of these provisions to enhance collective efforts in combating money laundering and terrorist financing. Strengthening domestic coordination will facilitate more efficient information sharing, streamline enforcement efforts, and ultimately contribute to a more

robust AML/CFT regime.”

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