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Pres. Sirleaf Decries Nature Of Money Laundering In West Africa
Date Uploaded: May 15, 2017

 President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf 

 

Pres. Sirleaf Decries Nature Of Money Laundering In West Africa

By Prince S. Nagbe

MONROVIA, May 14 (LINA) - President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has said the multiple forms of money laundering in the West African sub-region have deprive countries of tens of billions of dollars that could be used to build the nations and reduce the level of poverty of the people.

"These multiple forms are well outlined: In the report of the High Level Panel, headed by former President Thabo Mbeki on illicit financial flow from Africa, it named drug trade, criminal activities, illegal arms dealing, Trade-mis-invoicing, and Transfer Pricing as the notable amongst them," Presided added.

The Liberian leader made the statement at the official opening of the 17th Inter-Governmental Body Against Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing in West Africa (GIABA) Ministerial Committee Meeting held in the conference hall of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) on Saturday.

According to President Sirleaf, these activities represent money illegally earned, transferred or utilized, many times through their illegal habits of private cooperation and collaborations with public officials.

Making reference to the Mercury Report on Africa, President Sirleaf disclosed that Africa is losing more than US$50 billion annually as a result of these illicit flows and has lost in excess of one trillion United States dollars over the last 50 years.

"Terrorism, which gets its funding through illicit flows is a major concern to our West African region; the recent sparks of terroristic activities in our sub-region, as evidenced by the one in Ouagadougou, Grand-Bassam, and Bamako, compels us to do more to address these flows," she noted.

She blamed the weaknesses in the banking systems, financial transactions through the informal sectors, and unguided cross borders as activities which facilitate the increase of these flows, noting, "This threatens the peace and stability our countries have earned through decades of economic, social and political transformations.”

The Liberian leader, however, told delegates at the meeting that the level of integration and determination of collective efforts of the leadership of the region as well as the integration at both economic, political, and judicial levels have made possible the progress the body will be discussing at the Ministerial Meeting.

"There are many ECOWAS countries represented by you in this room, which have made significant progress in addressing these issues; our central banks, working with GIABA's institutions continue to show improvements in performance," President Sirleaf emphasized.

She said though the tasks ahead are challenging, she is confident that their deliberations will provide the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, which she chairs, with the proposals on the way forward, solutions that are applicable to the situations and capacities of their individual countries.

LINA PSN/PTK

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