Crime Money Laundering West Africa World

GIABA urges West African states to prioritise prosecution of illicit financial flows

In a bid to combat terrorism financing and tackle financial crimes, the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) has emphasised the urgent need for member states to prioritise the prosecution of illicit financial flows. The call came during the 2023 summit for Compliance Officers in West Africa, themed around the “Intersection of technology and anti-money laundering, combating financing of terrorism and proliferation.”

During the summit held in Abuja, Mr. Edwin Harris, the Director-General of GIABA, highlighted the significance of focusing on prosecuting illicit financial flows to effectively address financial crime. He stressed that such prioritisation would significantly contribute to reducing crime and deterring potential offenders.

While acknowledging the potential of technology in preventing money laundering and counter-terrorism financing, Harris pointed out the challenges associated with integrating these technological advancements. He emphasised the necessity for these technologies to align with international standards of data protection, privacy, and cybersecurity to ensure the effective implementation of anti-money laundering laws.

Harris emphasised that asset recovery and prosecution should be paramount, asserting, “GIABA will not come and arrest people in Nigeria or Liberia. It is the responsibility of member countries. All we do is to provide them with tools through training to enhance insight.”


The director-general underscored the importance of collaboration among member states, stating, “Money laundering and terrorism financing are global issues, and strengthening one country alone will not suffice.” He urged innovative collective strategies and stressed the significance of not only naming and shaming perpetrators but also ensuring their prosecution within the ambit of the law.

Highlighting the critical role of technology, Harris reiterated GIABA’s commitment to leveraging technological advancements such as data analytics and machine learning to bolster compliance efforts and enhance the safety of the global financial system.

The summit served as a platform for participants to exchange experiences and foster collaboration in utilising technology to curb money laundering, terrorism financing, and proliferation. It emphasised the imperative of risk assessment and due diligence in combating financial crimes across the West African sub-region.

Through this summit, GIABA seeks to encourage member states to strengthen their legal frameworks, enhance cooperation, and leverage technological innovations to combat illicit financial flows effectively.


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