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Sierra Leone News: Terrorist financing in West Africa

The Inter Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) and the FATF collaborated on a typologies research project to identify the methods used by terrorists, terrorist groups, and their supporters in the West African region to collect, transfer and utilise funds. The project team used data provided by experts based in five West African countries where there have been serious and frequent incidences of terrorism: Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal. The report provides case studies, from which key indicators and red flags have been generated. Based on these case studies, the research project identified four main categories of typologies of methods and techniques used by West African terrorist and terrorist groups to support terrorist activities: Terrorist financing through trade and other lucrative activities; Terrorist financing through NGOs, charity organizations, and levies; Terrorist financing through smuggling of arms, assets and currencies by cash couriers and Terrorist financing through drug trafficking. The report concluded that terrorist organizations use both legitimate and illegitimate means to raise funds, and formal and informal channels to move the cash around.  Director General of GIABA, Kimelabalou Aba, said reporting institutions in West Africa have a weak capacity to identify suspicious transactions relating to terrorism financing.   “Security and surveillance at various national borders are weak, resulting in the infiltration of terrorists, small arms, and light weapons. Law enforcement and regulatory agencies, security and intelligence services and the judiciary lack the requisite capacity to effectively address the challenge of terrorism and terrorism financing.” He said the inability and unwillingness of national competent authorities to effectively co-operate and collaborate, especially in information sharing, is partly responsible for the deteriorating security and increasing terrorist financing in the sub-region. Based on these findings, the DG said the report will provide Recommendations to West African countries and regional/international authorities and development partners to improve their AML/CFT efforts. The report he said aims to help policymakers, regulatory and enforcement authorities as well as reporting entities to gain a better understanding of the nature and dynamics of terrorist financing in the West African region. “The purposes and processes of terrorist financing and related activities are fundamentally different from those of money laundering; and “money is only one of a number of essentially interchangeable instruments that can be exchanged for one another” in order for terrorist groups to obtain the end-use goods and other resources they need.”

Wednesday September 19, 2018.

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