The Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) has begun a three-day Regional Training Workshop for Journalists on Investigating Economic and Financial Crimes in West African countries in Assinie Côte d’Ivoire.

This comes at a time when the scourge of terrorist financing and money laundering has gained roots in the West African sub region. At the last check Africa has seen well over 80 billion dollars funnelled out of the continent to illicit financial flow which includes money laundering and terrorist financing.

EIB Network’s Francis Abban and Ghanaian Times’ Abigail Arthur are the two journalists from Ghana for the West African training workshop on economic and financial crimes.

The 30 journalists are from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
The Journalists from different categories of the media landscape: TV, radio, print media, online media, are those who have shown interest in the fight against financial crimes.
Director General of GIABA, Edwin Harris Jr in his welcome address noted that the event is one of the numerous actions through which GIABA intends to pursue and strengthen its cooperation with stakeholders in the media to adopt collective measures against crimes of all kinds that threaten our Member States.

The GIABA Director General represented by Timothy Melaye, Coordinator GIABA Information Center Lagos Nigeria indicated that the sub-region was going through a difficult period with regard to security issues.

According to him, “Côte d’Ivoire, like the other countries of ECOWAS and the world at large, is suffering from acts of organised and cross-border crimes, particularly drug trafficking, arms trafficking and illegal wildlife trafficking, all of which fuel violence and terrorism.

“This situation, with its dramatic effects on our Member States, therefore justifies the commitment and efforts of all stakeholders to prevent and combat the scourges underlying money laundering and terrorist financing.”

He said that the training would review techniques and methods of investigative journalism on financial and economic crimes.
Harris added that GIABA works with great intermediaries who are important pillars in the fight towards establishing an environment devoid of money laundering.
He added that GIABA has been conducting sensitization programmes for media practitioners since 2009.
President Of the Financial Intelligence Unit Cote D’Ivoire who doubles as the National Correspondent of GIABA, Idrissa Toure, noted that the training would assist the journalists to acquire knowledge on implementation of Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) in West African countries.

He emphasized that Journalists have a duty to ensure good governance and promotion of transparency in the sub region.

On his part, Côte D’Ivoire’s Minister of Communication, Amadou Coulibaly explained that his government is committed to put mechanisms in place to fight against financial crime and money laundering in the country.

“Government is working with stakeholders to support the fight to stop the challenges of money laundering and financing terrorism and insecurity,” he said.
He charged Journalists to do reports that would support government accountability and transparency campaigns in member states.

Story by Francis Abban.