30th GIABA Technical Commission/Plenary and 19th Ministerial Committee Meetings held in Banjul, The Gambia from the 11th to 17th November 2018.

During the GIABA Plenary various discussions were held such as, the threats and challenges associated with Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) within the region.

During the preliminary meetings in Banjul, Senegal’s Mutual Evaluation Report (MER) for the Second Round was considered by the Evaluation and Compliance Group (ECG). The ECG also considered the Mutual evaluation follow-up reports (FURs) of the Union of The Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Niger, Togo, Nigeria, The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau. According to the GIABA Mutual Evaluation (ME) Process and Procedures (published in 2009), the objective of the Mutual Evaluation exercise is to assess the implementation and effectiveness of the laws, regulations, mechanisms and other measures as required by international AML/CFT Standards. It essentially seeks to verify whether all the requisite measures have been fully implemented and whether the AML/CFT regime of the assessed country is effective. Also, the ME follow-up process provides information on the progress made by a member State, after evaluation, in meeting its obligations, as required by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations.

The Plenary / Technical commission meeting also hosted a workshop on the fight against the Hezbollah’s financial activity in West Africa. The outcomes of the meeting of the GIABA Risks, Trends and Methods Group (RTMG), the 6th meeting of the SAMWA Project, the meeting of the regional Financial Intelligence Units’ (FIU) Forum, and the meeting of the ECG, were also amongst the key items that were on the agenda at the GIABA Plenary. The Opening Ceremony which held on 15th November 2018 was attended by Gambia’s high authorities which comprised of the Gambian Ministers’ of Finance and Justice. The Director General of GIABA, Mr. Kimelabalou ABA also presented his Activity Report.

The 19th GIABA Ministerial Committee (GMC) meeting held in Banjul on 17th November 2018. The GMC is the decision-making body 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 considered and adopted the Director General’s Activity Report. The consideration and adoption of 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, formed part of the key items that were discussed at the GMC Meeting.

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 30th GIABA Plenary / Technical Commission Meeting ended on a high note which member states rededicating themselves to combating the menace of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing within the West African Sub-Region.