The Intergovernmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) is holding a Regional Capacity Building Workshop for Magistrates, Prosecutors and investigators from ECOWAS Member States in Lomé, Togo, from 23rd to 26th March 2015. The objectives of this workshop are, among others, to deepen participants’ knowledge in the areas of investigation, prosecution and trial of cases relating to Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing (ML/TF). This workshop will equally provide an opportunity for stakeholders in the judiciary sector to share experiences and enhance the promotion of cooperation and coordination among the Competent Authorities in the region. Participants will also be introduced to best practices in AML/CFT.
Magistrates, Prosecutors and Law Enforcement Officers are grappling with a host of challenges bordering on the ineffectiveness of legal frameworks, the low level of intelligence sharing and the lack of appropriate competences and resources. In West Africa, it is quite difficult to freeze, seize, confiscate or recover proceeds of crime. This is coupled with the delay in the execution of requests for Mutual Legal Assistance and the low rate of convictions in Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing (ML/TF) related offences.
The International Standards against Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing ((ML/TF) require countries to provide for the Competent Authorities adequate financial, human and technical resources needed for the effective accomplishment of their AML/CFT functions. Considering their crucial role, it is imperative for ECOWAS Member States to establish effective judicial systems and have Magistrates and Investigators with the required competences and knowledge for the delivery of swift and conclusive decisions. The crucial role of Law Enforcement Officers and the complexity of investigations on economic and financial crimes suggest that such stakeholders should possess some specific expertise in the areas of intelligence and investigation in order to establish appropriate prosecution cases.
GIABA, in its drive to meet the above-mentioned challenges, organizes capacity building programmes for AML/CFT stakeholders to enable them effectively meet the challenges posed by these scourges in the sub-region. The Lomé workshop is part of this drive and is expected to provide an opportunity for participants to understand the concepts, appreciate the roles of every stakeholder and effectively coordinate relevant actions.