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Sierra Leone News: Combating financial crimes is critical for the New Direction Agenda to succeed – Patricia Laverley

In her address to the 19th GIABA Ministerial Committee in the Gambia on 17 November 2018, the Deputy Minister of Finance, Patricia Nyanga Laverley, told the meeting that addressing money laundering and other related financial crimes is very critical to the success of the New Direction Agenda. GIABA is an institution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) responsible for facilitating the adoption and implementation of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Financing of Terrorism (CFT) in West Africa. It is also a FATF-Styled Regional Body (FSRB) working with its member States to ensure compliance with international AML/CFT standards. In a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance about the meeting, she said that the government is putting measures in place within the banking sector to track down fraudulent or suspicious transactions, tightening up security at the airport and other border crossing points and hosts of reforms that are on the way in the country. Commenting about the need for the Commission of Inquiry which she said has been described as witch hunting for past government officials, but was quick to remiss the said perception that it is about holding those that will be found wanting, accountable for their stewardship. “Fighting corruption and increase accountability is very critical to us as a nation” she added. In retrospect, Articles 9(iii) and 11(i)(b) of the GIABA Statutes provide for Statutory meetings at both technical and political levels to be held at least once a year to discuss directives, activities and progress made by GIABA. Furthermore, as a FATF-Style Regional Body (FSRB), GIABA is expected to convene a technical meeting, twice a year, with its officials and experts to analyze, monitor and identify strategies for the effective implementation of AML/CFT measures in member States. The 19th Ministerial Committee Meeting held on the 17th of November 2018 is the decision-making body of GIABA and is made up of the three line ministries of each GIABA Member State (Finance and/or Economic Development, Security/Internal Affairs and Justice). During the meeting, the GMC was considered and adopted the Director General’s Activity Report, considered and adopted the Revised Mutual Evaluation Process and Procedures, the Report of the 30th GIABA Technical Commission/Plenary Meeting, the Mutual Evaluation Report of the Republic of Senegal, and the Memorandum on the Revised GIABA Statutes, among others, was part of the deliberations.   The team from Sierra Leone also included Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Lahai Lawrence Leema, Director Financial Intelligence Units (FIU) Ahmed Kamara and Borboh, a staff of FIU.

ZJ/21/11/18

By Zainab Iyamide Joaque

Thursday November 23, 2018.

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