Cross-border Crime and Money Laundering in West Africa

Report
Dr. Abdullahi Y. Shehu
Director General, GIABA
Presented to the Commissioners of the West Africa
Commission on Drugs (WACD), Accra, Ghana
29 April 2013
Regional Context – the facts
Mandate of GIABA
Serious and organized crime in West Africa
Challenges of fighting organized crime in West
Africa
 The role of GIABA in Countering Organized
Crime in West Africa
 GIABA’s achievements
 Recommendations
 Conclusion
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Sierra Leone, 5.997
Senegal, 12.77
Population (Mn)
Togo, 6.155
Benin, 9.1
Burkina Faso, 16.97
Cape Verde, 0.5006
Cote d'Ivoire, 20.15
The Gambia, 1.776
Ghana, 24.97
Guinea,
10.22
Mali, 15.84
Nigeria, 162.5
Guinea
Bissau,
1.547
Liberia,
4.129
Niger, 16.07
Burkina
Sierra Leone
Faso
Senegal 1% Togo Benin
3% Cape Verde
2%
1%
4%
0%
The Gambia
0%
Ghana
11%
Cote d'Ivoire
6%
Guinea
1%
Guinea
Bissau
0%
Liberia
0%
Mali
3%
Niger
2%
Nigeria
66%
GDP (Billion USD)
160,000,000,000
140,000,000,000
120,000,000,000
100,000,000,000
80,000,000,000
60,000,000,000
40,000,000,000
20,000,000,000
0
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
Nigeria's GDP 2007-2011 (USD)
250,000,000,000
200,000,000,000
150,000,000,000
100,000,000,000
50,000,000,000
0
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
Per Capita Income
4000
3000
2000
1000
0
Fifteen (15) countries, over 300 million inhabitants, with
Nigeria having more than half of the total population (170
ml)
 Majority of the population lives in rural areas, largely
isolated from the government, with little or no access to
basic services.
 Plagued by deep and widespread poverty and
underdevelopment, 11 of the 15 countries were ranked by
the 2009 United Nations Development Program (UNDP) as
experiencing ‘low development’.
 West Africa’s GDP of approximately $369 billion is less than
that of Saudi Arabia with nearly $435 billion. UNDP (2009),
Human Development Report

About 66% of West Africa’s total output comes from
About 66% of West Africa’s output comes from one
country and the rest 14 share less than 34 % .
 High
unemployment and underemployment
especially among the youth, including university
graduates and migrants from rural to urban areas
who struggle to find work and are mostly compelled
to look for opportunities in the informal sector as
apprentices, domestic or unpaid family workers, or
as self-employed workers.
 Protracted political crises and instability which have
diverted attention and used up development
resources

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Serious and Organized crime generate large illicit
proceeds in West Africa, particularly corruption and drug
trafficking.
The size of the amount related to corruption in West
Africa is monumental and is the number one predicate
offence for money laundering related prosecutions in the
region.
18 tons of cocaine worth approximately $1.25 billion
were smuggled through West Africa in 2010. About $500
million of drug money remained in West Africa or was
laundered through the region in 2012.
Authorities across West Africa also report frauds, abuse
of trust, theft and smuggling of minerals (oil in
Criminals legitimize or ‘launder’ their illegally
acquired proceeds so as to disguise the origin and
identity and to avoid detection by authorities.
 In doing so, criminals exploit the nature and mode of
economic transactions, technological advances, easy
movement of people, goods, and capital, and among
others
 The criminal proceeds are transferred through
legitimate channels using series of transactions,
including bank deposits and investments in
legitimate businesses.

GIABA was established by the Authority of
Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS
in 2000 with the mandate of:
 Protecting the economies of ECOWAS
Member States (MS) against the laundering of
proceeds of crime;
 Developing strategies to combat ML/TF in the
ECOWAS region;
 Assisting MS to implement effective AML/CFT
measures, based on the FAFT
Recommendations.


GIABA plays an important role in
countering organized crime in West Africa
by assisting its member States to
implement
acceptable
international
measures to deny criminals access to
proceeds generated through criminal
activities.
GIABA’s role is premised on the idea of
‘going after the money’ and making
organized crime unprofitable.
The strategic plan is based on 7 pillars/ Goals:
1) Institutional
Development:
constitute a strong and
competent Regional
Body for AML/CFT,
capable of providing the
requisite capacity and
support to member
States in order to assist
them to develop strong
capacity to counter
Money Laundering and
the Financing of
Terrorism, within their
respective borders and
at the regional level.
2) Compliance
Monitoring :
Monitor and
assess member
States to
determine their
level of
compliance with
acceptable
International
AML/CFT
Standards.
3) Research and
Typologies:
Conduct Studies
and Research to
determine
techniques,
methods, extent,
pattern, trends,
location and impact
of ML and FT on
Member States.
The strategic plan is based on 7 pillars/ Goals:
4) Technical Assistance
to Member States:
Provide support to
Member States to create
stronger and more
effective and efficient
AML/CFT structures and
practice.
5) Partnerships:
Promote strategic
partnerships with the
private sector, civil
society and other key
stakeholders.
6)Regional and International
Cooperation:
Expand and reinforce
cooperation within and
between Member States,
between Member States and
GIABA, and with International
partners in general.
7. Cross cutting issues:
Regional and National Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation
and Long term Funding Plan
Based on its Strategic Plan, GIABA works to, among
others:
 Assist MS to enact; upgrade and harmonize legislation
against ML in West Africa;
 Help establish, strengthen, and resource Financial
Intelligence Units (FIUs);
 Assist member States develop strategies, structures
and mechanisms against ML/TF;
 Undertake training and awareness raising
 Provision of equipment, such as scanners to detect
cross border currency movements;
 Erection of billboards with anti-money laundering
messages to raise awareness in order to instigate
actions against ML/TF.
Corruption
Political Office
holders
- illicit money
generated through
bribery,
embezzlement of
public funds
Institutional
corruption
- Public officials
and institutions
serving the
objectives of
criminals
The Private
Sector
Self-corruption and
conniving with PEPs
and public officials to
perpetuate corrupt
practices.
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Prevalence of corruption
Inadequate political commitment
Inadequate resources and competing priorities
Poor compliance culture with minimum AML/CFT
standards;
Poor investigative and intelligence-gathering
skills;
Lack of capacity and expertise to handle complex
and long term cases of ML. Particularly, limited
specialization on ML investigation;
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Separation of ML investigation from
predicate offences investigation.
Inadequate inter-agency
cooperation/coordination;
Cash-dominated economic transactions;
Financial and material benefits of crime;
Insufficient/poor data management
systems
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Prevalence of socio-cultural practices and
attitudes that glorify wealth;
“Backlash” of globalization and technological
advancement;
Low capacity of countries to absorb technical
assistance
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Enactment of anti-money laundering laws by all
member States
Formulation and adoption of National Strategic
Frameworks against ML/TF (10 countries)
Establishment of FIUs in thirteen (13) member
States, at different levels of development;
Increased knowledge and awareness of money
laundering and related issues through research and
typologies studies;
Strengthened capacities of relevant personnel- law
enforcement, prosecutory and judiciary through
training workshops and seminars.
The West Africa Commission’s moral authority is
needed to effect series of policy and
operational changes in the region, including:
 Mainstreaming issues of organized crime and
money laundering into political discourse;
 Advocating for political commitment from
governments in West Africa;
 Establishing and/or strengthening
institutional frameworks; and
 Creating systems that prevent and control
corruption and promote good governance
Strengthening of institutional and personnel integrity
through the establishment of an independent Law
Enforcement Complaint and Integrity Commissions by
member States. Such commission must be
independent of government and have the mandate to
deal with issues of integrity and professionalism in law
enforcement.
 Regional coordination mechanisms against drug
trafficking and organized crime should be
strengthened to support countries in the region in
their national actions.
 A strong civil society platform should be created at the
national and regional levels to serve as the watch dog
for actions and ensure accountability.

There is the need to engage/persuade political
leaders, especially Parliamentarians to pass the
relevant laws required to effectively deal with
drug trafficking, other organized crime and
money laundering.
 In order to have in place a sustained capacity,
there is the need to have and designate regional
centers of excellence for specialized training on
combating corruption, drug trafficking and
money laundering;
 Institutional
mechanisms for coordination
among countries in the region should be formed
and resourced to foster operational cooperation.

Serious and organized crime, particularly corruption
and drug trafficking, remain unabated in West Africa
and continue to generate vast proceeds for criminals
and smuggling networks. Institutions and systems
have been compromised.
 GIABA is playing an important role in fighting
organized crime by assisting governments in the
region to deny criminals of access to proceeds
generated from their ‘enterprises’.
 The WACD should employ its moral authority to help
bring about significant policy and operational
changes, including enhancing and consolidating
regional cooperation frameworks and mainstreaming
the relevant issues into political discourse

GAIBA Secretariat
Tel: +221338591818
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.giaba.org

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