Collaborate in fight against money laundering, terrorist financing - Information Minister to journalists
The Minister of information, Kwadwo Oppong Nkrumah, has called for effective collaboration between journalists and organisations involved in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing (MLTF).
He said the media must also increase education on the dangers of such illegal activities and their consequences on a nation.
The minister made the call at the opening of a two-day inter-governmental action group against money laundering in West Africa (GIABA), the national anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism media outreach activity in Accra yesterday.
The capacity-building workshop is to equip the 16 participating journalists with the necessary information to educate the public on the negative impact of money laundering and terrorist financing to raise interest and also court public support to combat the menace.
GIABA is a specialised institution of ECOWAS with the mandate to protect the economies of West Africa member states from exploitation of laundering proceeds and crime.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah said the ECOWAS region was becoming unstable with increasing incidents of terrorism and insecurity on the rise.
He cited a recent incident in the Upper East Region where efforts to apprehend persons suspected to be associated with terrorism were thwarted by local youth, indicating that more needed to be done to raise awareness.
The minister mentioned weak regulatory frameworks, political instability, highly informal economies, transactions across porous borders and growing sophistication in
cybercrime as some of the activities creating avenues for money laundering and terrorism financing.
“They exacerbate income inequality as proceeds often benefit a small group of individuals or entities, widening the wealth gap,” he added.
GJA on measures
The President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Albert Dwumfour, also urged African nations to adopt stringent anti-money laundering measures to safeguard their financial systems, promote transparency and maintain economic integrity.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates that between two and five per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP), representing between €715 billion and €1.87 trillion, was laundered each year.
It also indicates that illicit financial flows (IFFs) in Africa cost $88.6 billion annually, a development that was hindering progress and impeding the achievement of the sustainable development goals.
It further mentioned the primary origins of illicit financial flows into Africa to include criminal activities such as money laundering, trafficking, smuggling, corruption and commercial practices associated with tax and trade abuse.
The Director-General of GIABA, Edwin W. Harris, in a speech read on his behalf by the Head of Communications of GIABA, Timothy Melaye, said the organisation worked to ensure ECOWAS member states complied with acceptable international standards on anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism.
It also conducts valuable research to identify various money laundering and terrorist financing trends and methods to strengthen preventive and enforcement efforts.
“The anti-graft fight cannot be effective without the active involvement of the media which has the dual capacity for educating the public on the menace of money laundering and directly investigating and tracking down those involved,” Mr Harris said.
In line with that, he said the organisation was building the capacity of other stakeholders including law enforcement agencies, the judiciary, financial institutions, designated non-financial businesses, youth and women groups and civil society organisations.
The Deputy CEO of the Ghana Financial Intelligence Centre, Kofi Boakye, said the training of the journalists was important in the light of Ghana’s upcoming national risk assessment and subsequent mutual evaluation.