ECOWAS ministers take new measures to fight money laundering

May 10, 2012

The fight against money laundering is entering a new phase in the Economic Community of West African States.

The fight against money laundering is entering a new phase in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

During a meeting on May 2nd to 5th in Abidjan, ministers from the ECOWAS region committed to strengthen the fight against corruption by offering greater support to national structures fighting money laundering and also by a strengthened judicial action, Abidjan.net reports.

They also opted for the introduction of training sessions for employees of financial intelligence units, with technical support to optimise data research methods.

Ivory Coast's Home Secretary Hamed Bakayoko called for the establishment of an integrated sub-regional anti-money laundering approach, with a better sharing of information.

The Vice-Director of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa N'Dèye Elisabeth Diaw explained during the debate that money laundering presents a risk to the financial system of West African countries, APA news agency reports.

She believes that financial institutions participating in money laundering by accepting illicit funds cannot count on the durability of these funds, leading to a systemic risk if money laundering is practiced on a large scale.

"Local retailers and businesses risk being harmed by unfair competition from 'shell companies' or 'front companies' created to launder funds and which practice price below the market," she added.ADNFCR-2976-ID-801359842-ADNFCR