From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye in Assinie, Cote d’ Ivoire
The Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) on Tuesday kickstarted a three-day Regional Training Workshop for Journalists on Investigating Economic and Financial Crimes in West African countries in Assinie Côte d’Ivoire.
The 30 journalists are from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
The Journalists from different categories of the media landscape: TV, radio, print media, online media, are those who have shown interest in the fight against financial crimes.
Director General Edwin Harris Jr of GIABA, in his welcome remark said the event illustrates the numerous actions through which GIABA intends to pursue and strengthen its cooperation with stakeholders in the media to adopt collective measures against crimes of all kinds that threaten our Member States.
The DG who was represented by Timothy Melaye, Coordinator GIABA Information Center Lagos Nigeria, noted that the sub-region was going through a difficult period with regard to health and security issues.
According to him, “Côte d’Ivoire, like the other countries of ECOWAS and the world at large, is suffering from acts of organised and cross-border crimes, particularly drug trafficking, arms trafficking and illegal wildlife trafficking, all of which fuel violence and terrorism.
“This situation, with its dramatic effects on our Member States, therefore justifies the commitment and efforts of all stakeholders to prevent and combat the scourges underlying money laundering and terrorist financing.”
He said that the training would review techniques and methods of investigative journalism on financial and economic crimes.
Harris added that GIABA works with great intermediaries who are important pillars in the fight towards establishing an environment devoid of money laundering.
He added that GIABA has been conducting sensitization programmes for media practitioners since 2009.
Also speaking, President Côte d Ivoire, Financial Intelligence Unit CI – FIU and president National Correspondent of Cote d’Ivoire appreciate GIABA, Idrissa Toure, said the training would assist the journalists to acquire knowledge on implementation of Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) in West African countries.
He noted that Journalists have a responsibility of ensuring good governance and promotion of transparency in the region.
In a remark, Côte D’Ivoire Minister of Communication, Amadou Coulibaly, said the Côte D’Ivoire government is committed and put mechanisms in place to fight against financial crime and money laundering in the country.
“Government is working with stakeholders to support the fight to stop the challenges of money laundering and financing terrorism and insecurity,” he said.
He charged Journalists to do reports that would support government accountability and transparency campaigns in member states.