The Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), will tomorrow start a Regional Workshop on Developing Effective Frameworks and Structures to Fight Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (ML/TF) through Non-profit Organizations (NPOs). The workshop, which holds in Abuja, Nigeria, will end on 6th April 2018.
According to a press release from the regional body, non-profit organizations have become important in economic development, demonstrated through their humanitarian and essential services. GIABA noted that several studies have however underscored the vulnerabilities of the NPO sector to abuse, particularly, for terrorism financing (TF) purposes. These reports include typologies reports on “The Risk of using Non-profit Organizations for Terrorist Purposes” published by FATF in 2017 and “Terrorist Financing in West and Central Africa” jointly published by FATF and GIABA in 2013 and updated in 2016.
In addition to these typologies reports, GIABA in 2017 organized a regional workshop on Preventing the Abuse of Non-profit Organizations (NPOs) for Terrorism Purposes in Lomé, Togo. The outcomes of that workshop highlighted numerous deficiencies, including in anti-terrorism structures and frameworks within the NPO sector, a understanding of the roles of NPOs in the implementation of FATF Recommendation 8, effective regulation of NPOs, etc.
Also, the outcomes of the first round of Mutual Evaluation of GIABA member States reveal that several member States are still grappling with some challenges, including inadequate sensitization, inefficient regulation of NPOs, and gaps in domestic AML/CFT legal and regulatory frameworks for effective supervision of NPOs.
Consequently, GIABA has designed, among other instruments, this awareness-raising and training programme in order to fill the gaps identified and improve on the performance of Member States in the implementation of FATF Recommendation 8. This Recommendation requires member countries to adopt legislative and regulatory measures to ensure that NPOs are not used for the purpose of financing terrorist activities.
In this regard, the regional NPO anti money laundering workshop seeks to create a platform for in-depth reflection on best practices, establish a consensus and encourage cooperation and collaboration in order to prevent the abuse of NPOs for terrorist purposes. Specifically, the workshop seeks to sensitize and develop a common understanding among stakeholders, support to build effective and proportionate responses to TF risks through the NPO sector; identify the legal and regulatory gaps at domestic level in the region; and to enhance cooperation, coordination and commitment at national level between Governments and the NPO.
Fifty (50) participants and experts drawn from the 15 ECOWAS member countries are expected to participate in the workshop.
At the end of the workshop, it is expected that there would be improved sensitization of participants on the vulnerabilities of the NPO sector to TF, enhanced coordination and commitment among the authorities in the sector, other competent authorities and NPOs, as well as improved compliance of member States.