Regional Anti-Graft Group Includes Religious Leaders, CSOs In Combatting Money Laundering

MONROVIA – The West African regional anti-graft organization, the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) has begun a two-day sensitization seminar for religious leaders and representatives of civil society organization in Monrovia.

The seminar, under the theme: “National Sensitization Seminar for Religious Leaders and Institutions, on Implementing Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism,” brought religious leaders from the Christian and Muslim faiths from all over the country.

Delivering the keynote speech marking the opening of the seminar, the Director General of GIABA, Edwin Harris, cautioned religious leaders to join efforts aimed at curbing money laundering and terroristic financing in the West African region.

“The danger cost of money laundering in any society can’t be over emphasized. Launderer take advantage of vulnerability in the law and system to commit dangerous crimes” he explained.

According to him, criminals are now using weaker institutions such as the Churches and Mosques in money laundering and terrorist financing.

“The risks of using religious agenda to perpetrate crime of money laundering and terrorists financing through not for profit organization has been identified, therefore measure has been taken to address such vulnerability,” end added .

Harris noted that awareness and sensitization are key measures to exposing actor; and expose suspicious activities to the FIU, Ministry of Justice and Law enforcement Agency.

Also speaking, the Officer in Charge of the Financial Intelligence Unit, Emmanuel Gee, encouraged the religious leaders to be very observant on individuals making huge financial contributions to their institutions for causing trouble. “Income generating crime known as predicate offensive of money laundering such as corruption, kidnapping, human ad drug trafficking amongst in our part of the world is worrisome. This is in addition to the high level of violence extremism and obvious challenges associated with these vices,” he said.

He explained that it is important to engage the influential religious leaders to address some of the ills in the society.

Mr. Gee, at the same time, call on everyone to play their role in ensuring a peaceful, secure and economic viable nation.

By Winifred H. Sackor

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