Money Laundering: GIABA Concludes 2nd Training on Beneficial Ownership

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By Abibatu Kamara,

The Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) has concluded a virtual regional training on the implementation of Beneficial Ownership Information Requirements.

GIABA is a specialized institution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) tasked with the responsibility for strengthening the capacity of Member States towards the prevention and control of money laundering and terrorist financing in the region.

GIABA’s Director for Evaluation and Compliance, Dr. Buno Nduka said the training was organized to support Member States to adequately implement the requirements of Recommendations 24 and 25 of the FATF standards, particularly those relating to transparency and beneficial ownership information.

He added that transparency of Beneficial Ownership is essential to prevent the misuse of companies and other legal persons and arrangements for money laundering or terrorist financing.

Dr. Nduka further said the implementation of these two recommendations has been challenging not only in the West African region but within the global network, adding that “the FATF recognizes this and therefore continues to carry out work on this area.”

GIABA’s Director-General, Mr. Kimelabalou Aba noted that FATF recommendations require effective measures that will tackle money laundering to prevent criminals from enjoying the proceeds from their illegal activities.

On transparency and beneficial ownership of legal persons, he noted that countries should ensure that there is adequate, accurate, and timely information on the beneficial ownership and control of legal persons that can be obtained or accessed in a timely fashion by competent authorities.

The Director-General called on countries to take measures to prevent the misuse of legal arrangements for money laundering or terrorist financing, expressing his confidence the brainstorming and exchange of experiences from participants would enable GIABA and its partners to identify the adequate strategies in order to effectively implement the demands relating to information on Beneficial Ownership.

He further reassured participants that GIABA would continue to make all the necessary arrangements, strategies, and initiatives as well as use its competence throughout all its member states so that they could in turn set up effective arrangements to fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.

The training objectives were to sensitize competent authorities on the requirements of the FATF standards regarding the disclosure of BOI; to enhance the capacity of member states to enable them effectively implement BOI requirements as contained in their national laws as well as promote the exchange of information and good practices among participants on BOI disclosure.

The training was the second in its series following the first one held in Abuja in December 2019.