Central Bank of Liberia Hosts GIABA Ministerial Meeting

Photo Credit: CBL

(MONROVIA – May 13, 2017):The 17th ministerial meeting of the Intergovernmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), opened Saturday May 13, 2017, at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf expressing concern over the illicit flows of money in the West African sub-region.  The President said weaknesses in the banking system of the sub-region, financial transaction through the informal sector and unguarded porous borders, facilitate the movement of illicit flows.  This, she said, threatens the peace and stability that countries of the region have earned through decades of social, economic and political transformation.


Off major concern also to the West African sub-region, the President emphasized, is terrorism, which gets its funding through illicit flows. The ECOWAS chairman observed that the recent spate of terroristic activity in the sub-region as evidenced in Ouagadougou, Grand Bassam and Bamako, “makes it an imperative for the sub-region to do more to address these flows”.


The Liberian president also noted that the multiple forms of money laundering deprives African countries of tens of millions of dollars “that could build our nations and reduce the level of poverty of our people.”


Quoting a High Level Panel headed by former South African President Tabo Mbeki, on illicit financial flows from Africa, President Johnson Sirleaf said criminal activities, illegal arms dealing, and transfer pricing are notable multiple forms of illicit financial flows from the continent.


These activities, the ECOWAS Chairman cautioned, “represent money illegally earned, transferred or utilized, many times through the illegal habits of private corporations with collaboration of public officials.”


The Liberian President said Africa is losing more than US $50-billion annually as a result of these illicit flows, and has lost in excess US 1-trillion dollars over the last fifty years, quoting the Mbeki report.


In spite of the threat, the President noted, however, that significant progress has been made by ECOWAS countries in addressing the threats. ECOWAS banks working with GIABA institutions, she said, continue to show improvement in performance.


The President expressed hope that the deliberations will derive proposals that would provide the way forward and solutions that will be applicable to the situation and capacities of individual countries in the region.


The Director General of GIABA Mr. Adama Coulibaly, welcomed the hosting of the ministerial meeting in Liberia and said he looked forward to a rewarding exercise as countries of the sub-region strive to address the issue of money laundering and terrorist financing.