GIABA Gets a New Director-General

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Justice Kimelabalou ABA of the Togolese Republic has resumed office as the 3rd Director General of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA). He succeeds Col. Adama Coulibaly of Cote d’Ivoire who led GIABA from February 3, 2014 to February 28, 2018.

Justice ABA is a Magistrate. He obtained an M.Phil. in 1999, Option Magistracy, from the National School of Administration (ENA) Lomé-Togo. Previously, he completed his primary and secondary studies leading to an Advanced Level School Certificate in Philosophy obtained at the Chaminade College in Kara, Togo, which led him to higher education. He opted for the Faculty of Law at the University of Benin in Lomé, Togo, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Private Law obtained in 1994 and a Master’s degree in Business Law a year later.

Justice ABA also holds a Post-graduate Professional Diploma in Fundamental Rights from the University of Nantes (France) in 2002 and obtained a Professional Masters Degree in African Cyber Law from the Gaston Berger University in Saint-Louis, Senegal.

Professionally, Justice ABA has a wealth of diversified professional experiences. He served as a Judge at the African Court of Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) in Arusha, Tanzania, in 2013 and 2014.

At national level, he has alternately served as Deputy Judge and Judge at the Lomé High Court from 2000 to 2006, Deputy State Prosecutor at the Lomé High Court from 2006 to 2012, then as Chief Justice President of the Vogan High Court from 2012 to 2014. Prior to his appointment as GIABA Director General, Mr. ABA held the position of Chief Justice of the Atakpamé Lower High Court in Togo since 2014.

Justice Kimelabalou ABA also has a wealth of expertise in electoral matters. Thus, he served as Chairman of the Independent Local Electoral Commissions (TISC) of Vo and Ogou Districts from 2012 to 2015.

The new Director General of GIABA is very familiar with the Institution he has just been appointed to head, having served as Expert representing the Ministry of Justice of Togo at the GIABA Technical Commission Meetings from 2010 to 2017 and as Co-chair of the Evaluation and Compliance Group (ECG) since November 2016, a position he held until his appointment.

The Director General has participated in several seminars and trainings on Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation, human rights, international criminal law, cybersecurity/cybercrime, intellectual property as well as the OHADA Law, including:

 On Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation

– From 16th to 19th October, 2017: Participated in the regional workshop on the effective implementation of AML/CFT requirements and the role of stakeholders in Grand Bassam, Republic of Côte d’Ivoire.

– From 25th to 29th May, 2015: Assessors Training Workshop: exercises on GIABA’s 2nd Round of Mutual Evaluation in Yamoussoukro, Republic of Côte d’Ivoire.

– On 5th May, 2012: Represented the Minister of Justice of Togo at the Ministerial Committee Meeting of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) held in Abidjan, Republic of Côte d’Ivoire.

– From 27th to 30th March, 2012: Sensitization and Training Seminar for State Departments on Anti-money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism organized by the Togolese Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in Lomé, Togo, with the support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

– From 12th to 16th September, 2011: Training Seminar for Magistrates, criminal investigation officers, support judicial staff and other stakeholders in Anti-money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism organized by the Togolese Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) at Nangbeto, Togo, with the support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

– From 13th to 17th September, 2010: Participated in the workshop for the finalization of the draft responses to the Mutual Evaluation Questionnaire of Togo organized by the Togolese Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in Nangbéto, Togo.

– From 4th to 6th August, 2010: Participated in the preparatory workshop for the Mutual Evaluation of Togo organized by GIABA in Lomé, Togo.

– From 2nd to 4th December 2008: Training seminar on Anti-money Laundering and Terrorist Financing for Francophone and Lusophone Judges in ECOWAS in Lomé, Togo.

Justice ABA has extensive experience in areas of Human Rights, International Criminal Law, Cybersecurity and Cybercrime, Intellectual Property Law and OHADA Law.

GIABA is a specialized institution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), saddled with the mandate to protect the economic and financial systems of ECOWAS member States from abuse. Established in 2000, GIABA had been led by Mrs. Victoria Ojeka-Ojei (Administrative Secretary – Nigeria), Professor Abdullahi Y. Shehu (Nigeria), and Colonel Adama Coulibaly (Cote d’Ivoire).