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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Gambia’s fight against money laundering marred by ‘key deficiencies’

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The director of Financial Intelligence Unit, Mr Yahya Camara, who made this revelation decried lack of adequate anti-money laundering training for banks and financial institutions, especially foreign bureaus and insurance companies. 

He said: “No money laundering and terrorism financing risk assessment has been conducted in the country to ascertain the degree to which the country is prone to these menaces. 

“The country has not also ratified the UN International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorism Financing, and the UN Convention against Corruption which could enhance its efforts to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.”

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He added: “There’s low investment in technology for anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) measures, and lack of adoption of appropriate internal control measures…

“Other existing gaps include the general lack of public awareness of money laundering and terrorism financing issues; insufficient human, technical and logistical resources for relevant entities responsible to tackle the twin economic crimes.”

Mr Camara, whose institution was recently established with a mandate to combat money laundering and terrorism financing in The Gambia was addressing the opening ceremony of a three-day workshop on Tuesday at Kairaba Beach Hotel. 

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The event which brought together dozens of state security personnel and financial sector players seeks to develop a national strategy to combat money laundering and terrorism financing in The Gambia.


            All is not gloom

In spite of the challenges, Mr Camara said he believed that the country had made modest gains against money laundering and terrorism financing in the face of high political support and commitment. 

He said the government had so far taken some of the steps to correct the identified deficiencies, such as the repeal of the Money Laundering Act 2003 and the enactment of the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Terrorism Financing Act 2012; the inclusion of 20 offences as predicate crimes of money laundering and terrorism financing in The Gambia.

“An inter-ministerial committee has also been established for the different ministries that have a stake in the fight against ML and TF to collaborate,” he said.


By Lamin Jahateh


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