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Group tasks media on reporting money laundering, terrorist financing

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Group tasks media on reporting money laundering, terrorist financing

The Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) has charged the media in West Africa on effective coverage of money laundering and terrorism financing issues plaguing the region.

Mr Edwin Harris Jr., the Director-General, GIABA, gave the charge at the opening ceremony of the Regional Training Workshop on Investigative Journalism on Economic and Financial Crimes in West Africa in Abuja on Wednesday.

Harris said the media had a role to play in the treatment of general and factual information on crime and in the dissemination of research and studies on the fight against transnational organised crime.

The director-general also said the media, particularly investigative journalists, played a crucial role in uncovering allegations of corruption in the fight against financial and economic crimes.

Moreso, he added, the media should also promote good governance, attract the sustained attention of law enforcement authorities and the public to the fight against financial and economic crimes.

He, however, noted that media, an essential source of detection, remained under-exploited in corruption cases.

“To this end, it stresses the need for closer and more productive collaboration with the media, as you constitute one of the main sources of information and intelligence, both for political decision-makers and for the international information community, both for policy makers and the general public.”

Furthermore, Harris said GIABA, in line with its mandate, had carried out sensitisation programmes for media professionals since 2009.

He also said in 2010 in Abuja, GIABA established a regional network of investigative journalists specialised in the denunciation of economic and financial crimes.

“Furthermore, in line with the GIABA 2023 to 2027 strategic plan developed in the context of the ever-changing global Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) outlook following the revision of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards and methodology, there has been focus on obligation to make regional AML/CFT interventions more effective.

“It aims to contribute to member states’ AML/CFT efforts and strengthen the engagement of non-state actors and critical sectors playing a crucial role in the effective implementation of AML/CFT measures,” he said

The GIABA boss also called on member states to cooperate as the group could not deal with the issues of money laundering and terrorism financing alone.

“Organised crime knows no borders and all nations must cooperate fully to deal with it.

“GIABA alone cannot overcome these problems. Whatever efforts we make at the regional level will have little impact without strong national commitments and institutions.

“We need the support of the various AML/CFT stakeholders, especially the media, to carry out our activities in order to prevent criminals from undermining the stability and integrity of our financial systems and economy in general.”

Also speaking with journalists in an interview, Mr Modibbo Tukur, the Director, Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), said the issue of legislation differed across various parts of the region.

Mr Mohammed Ahmed represented the director.

“In Nigeria, the Money Laundering Prohibition and Prevention Act was passed in May 2022, and the Terrorism Prevention and Prohibition Act was passed also in 2022.

“Specifically speaking to Nigeria’s legislative framework, what that has done is it has strengthened the abilities of Nigerian institutions to counter and combat both money laundering and terrorism financing,

“and we are seeing the progress that law has brought about through our collaboration with GIABA, in terms of the assessment it has made to show where we have made progress and seeing parts of our laws that were not strong enough, and helping us to identify where we can make additional improvement.

“This collaboration between GIABA and the countries is very useful in terms of a process of continuous improvement. It is not a journey you can end in a single day.”

The three-day regional training is intended for journalists specialised in economic and financial crimes and investigative journalists from various categories of the media in GIABA member states.

The objective of the training is aimed at creating a platform for interaction with the media on money laundering and terrorism financing issues and on security-related news in the West African region.

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Hardship: Protesters Defy Police Warning, Hit Lagos Streets

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Residents have hit the streets of Lagos State to protest against the increasing spike in the price of food and the high cost of living in the country.

The protest was facilitated by a human rights group identified as the “Take It Back Movement.”

This comes against the warning issued by the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Adegoke Fayoade, on Sunday.

The protesters were seen carrying placards of various inscriptions at Ojuelegba Under Bridge area of the state to express their grievances.

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CBN Lifts Ban On BDCs, Introduces New Operational Mechanism

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In a major development aimed at financial stability and strengthening the naira, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) plans to resume its weekly intervention in the country’s foreign exchange (FX) market through the Bureau de Change (BDC) operators.

In 2021, the central bank, in a bid to achieve its mandate of safeguarding the value of the local currency, ensuring financial system stability, and shoring up external reserves, announced the immediate discontinuance of foreign currency sales to Bureau de Change (BDC) operators in the country.

However, the resumed intervention, which would reportedly commence today for funding as well as Tuesday for collection, will see the apex bank inject FX into the subsector in a bid to rescue the naira from further depreciation against major currencies, particularly the US Dollar. The collection will be at designated CBN branches in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, and Awka, while details of the naira accounts to be credited for funding bidding will also be made available today.

CBN is also expected to publish the list of eligible BDCs to benefit from its funding using certain compliance criteria.National Executive Council of Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) hinted on the latest developments through a memo to its members over the weekend.

The association also warned members that it will no longer be business as usual under the new supervisory regime of the central bank, as any infringement or infraction would result in outright revocation of license and prosecution.

ABCON said through the association’s various engagements with the central bank, in conjunction with ABCON’s strategic partners, CBN had agreed to its request, under the bank’s supervision, to inject liquidity into the market through a weekly intervention beginning today.

CBN assured ABCON that the new circular on the Revised Regulatory and Supervisory Guidelines to BDCs, which was introduced over the weekend, was only a draft exposure that required the association’s inputs before the release of the final guidelines by the apex bank.

To that effect, the letters of the guidelines were not cast in stone, the association’s leadership told its members, who had been worried over the sweeping reforms in the document, which, among other things, prescribed N2 billion and N500 million minimum capital for national and state BDCs, respectively.

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