By MICHAEL EBOH
…Says developing countries lost $1.6trn in one year
Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) has emphasized the need for governments in Nigeria and across the world to step up their fight against money laundering.
The group said this was critical in the entrenchment and promotion of democracy, good governance as well as international peace and security.
Speaking at a workshop for elected local government officials held in Lokoja, Kogi State capital, Dr Abdullahi Shehu, Director General, GIABA, noted that in 2006 alone, developing countries lost between US$858.6 billion (N137.376 trillion) and $1.6 trillion (N256 trillion) in illicit financial flows in year 2006.
He stated that this has brought to the fore the need to protect the international financial system from abuse.
According to him, the establishment of GIABA is part of the renewed efforts to develop strategies for the prevention of money laundering and its predicate offences and to assist member States to implement those strategies to protect their economies from misuse for the purposes of laundering the proceeds of crime, including the financing of terrorism.
He said, “Terrorists and extremist organizations, drug cartels and the trafficking of human beings are seriously affecting human security in developing and developed economies alike. The 9/11 terrorist attacks in the USA have brought to the attention of the world the global reach of the extremist organizations and the frightening consequences of their actions concerning personal safety, peace and security in the world, potential tensions among different segments of the society, and pressures on the state institutions.”
He identified colonization, discrimination, low level of education, and a large population among the causes of poverty, lamenting that negative structural factors, such as lack of government support, neglect of educational development, health care and poor economic infrastructure have also contributed strongly to the persistence of poverty.