Business News of 2013-12-18

GIABA intensifies anti-money laundering campaign

The Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), has intensified its campaign on anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism through inter-university speech contests.

It, therefore, organised its maiden speech contest in Accra on the impact of money laundering and terrorist financing on West African Economies for five English speaking West African countries.

The contest anchored by the theme: “The Youth Force and the Fight against Corruption and Money Laundering in West Africa,” served as a platform to promote awareness on anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism regimes.

Dr Abdullah Shehu, Director-General of GIABA in a speech read on his behalf said the youth is largely vulnerable to the dangers of criminal activities. He said: “They are sometimes used as fronts for financial crimes, or they are involved on their own behalf,” justifying why GIABA had identified the youth as the important segment in the fight against money laundering and corruption.

Dr Shehu said the GIABA had engaged the youth and students in the region through series of awareness and sensitisation programmes including open house forums. He said the contest was not for merely scoring points and winning prizes, rather one that would enable contestants proffer solutions to the challenges of the menace.

The Director-General expressed hope that the youth would continue to deliberate on finding solutions to combat money laundering and terrorist financing in the West African sub-region.

Representative universities in Ghana, Nigeria, The Gambia, Sierra Leone and Liberia participated in the contest, which saw Ms Omeghie Okoyomoh from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, crowned the overall winner.

Ms Okoyomoh in her presentation observed that money laundering, terrorist financing and corruption have retarded economic growth, increased poverty, hardships and heightened insecurity in the sub-region.

She urged member states to devise means of instilling in the youth the spirit of patriotism and also make use of social media as the major tools to reach out to them in an effort to combat the canker.

She also said leaders of member states ought to show more commitment and seriousness in the provision of employment, quality education for the youth and take practical steps to eradicate poverty.

Ms Okoyomoh was honoured with one 1,000 dollars, a certificate, plaque and a dell branded laptop, while the second runner-up from the University of the Gambia also took away 750 dollars, a laptop, plague and a certificate. While the third place, went to a representative from University of Liberia who had 500 dollars, a laptop, plague and a certificate.

A representative of Fourah Bay University of Sierra Leone was fourth while University of Ghana representative was fifth. Both of them took consolation prizes. Contestants were adjudged on correctness of information provided, extent of research based on empirical evidence, sequential organisation of thought and their confidence level. GIABA was established in 2000 by the authority of heads of state and government of ECOWAS with specific mandate to develop strategies for the prevention of money laundering and its predicate offenses. Economic and organised crimes manifest in bribery and corruption, fraud, forgery and others and the ultimate goal of perpetrators is to legitimise their ill-gotten wealth by concealing its origin.