By Sylvester Samba.
The Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Mr. Mohamed Kenewui Konneh has called for collaboration in the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism in the country.
Mr. Konneh said that members of the gaming industry, non-profit organizations, certified accountants and betting companies have a distinct and vital role to play in combating money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism.
The FIU Director made the above statement at the opening of a three-day workshop organized by the FIU with support from GIABA and the European Union for designated non-financial businesses and professions on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing Terrorism (AML/CFT) preventive measures.
The engagement which started on Tuesday 27th March, 2019 at the Radisson Blu Hotel Aberdeen in Freetown is expected to end on Thursday 29th March, 2019.
Mr. Konneh informed the gathering that money laundering and terrorism financing which he referred to as twin evils, are serious global problems that do not only threaten the global financial system, but also have the potential to undermine the security and stability of the world.
He maintained that the seriousness of this prevailing problem cannot be ignored. “We cannot afford to slow down in this fight and we are mindful of the fact that we cannot do it alone,” Director Konneh noted.
He used the opportunity to express gratitude to GIABA and the European Union for their relentless partnership and for continuing to play a vital role in the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism in Sierra Leone.
Mr. Konneh who took up office early this month recalled that in 2017, the FIU coordinated a National Risk Assessment Exercise in collaboration with key stakeholders on money laundering and terrorist financing risks.
“It is in line with this assessment that the need for this workshop is initiated…Awareness raising is an essential tool in preventing criminals from enjoying the proceeds of their crimes”, observed Mr. Konneh
In her keynote address, the Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr. Patricia Nyanga Laverly said the threat of terrorism is real and that no country is immune from attack, thereby making specific emphasis on a third world country like Sierra Leone that is inundated with increasing numbers of unemployed youth.
She lamented that persons engaged in crime would flood the economy with tainted funds only for the purpose of money laundering. She also said money laundering and terrorist financing have the propensity to create an atmosphere conducive to the breeding of criminals thereby undermining state security.
The Deputy Minister of Finance stated that she is aware of the several challenges that beset AML/CFT regime. She said the campaign against money laundering and terrorism financing is a collective one which the country must win.