|Dr Abdullahi Shehu, DG of GIABA|
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Dr Abdullahi Shehu said accountants across the sub-region should cooperate with authorities like the police, lawyers, and other law enforcement agencies in customer identification, and record keeping and reporting of suspicious transactions. This is cognizance of the fact that the fight against the twin evils of ML/TF required concerted efforts.
Dr Shehu made this statement on Wednesday in Banjul during the beginning of a two-day regional training on Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Financing of Terrorism (AML and CFT) requirements for accountants.
The training, which is organised by GIABA, is being attended by accountants from English-speaking countries in the sub-region namely Ghana, The Gambia, Nigeria, Liberia and Sierra Leone. It is meant to enhance the capacity of participants to enable them fulfil their obligations to adopt and implement AML and CFT measures. Such measures include risk assessment and application of the risk-based approach to AML and CFT implementation.
Dr Shehu noted that if the expertise of accountants is provided to a criminal enable them (the criminals) to legitimatise their illegal funds through money laundering, the process of legitimisation of illegally acquired money in order to hide its true source.
“It is therefore critical that accountants and accounting professionals are aware of and thus, are required to exercise due diligence and consistently monitor transactions of their clients to ensure accurate and meaningful disclosures of suspicion of illegal activity,” the GIABA DG said.
As financial professionals, accountants cannot afford to be complacent when it to being involved in the laundering or criminal proceeds.
GIABA DG told the accountants: “You are expected to be on the lookout for possible criminal activities because, even if you are judged to have been unaware of the full nature of a client’s shady business, you will still be subject to legal or professional penalties at the end of the day.”
Monday, September 9, 2013
|The New nursery school built in Tungina village by Bee Tillo charitable organisatio|
Ms Birgit Speck, one of the German founders of the organisation, said they formed Bee Tillo in late 2011 with the aim of providing education to as many Gambian children as possible.
The first project of the organisation is in Tungina village, located about 15km from Brikama, the regional capital of West Coast Region. The organisation has recently completed building a nursery school, Bee Tillo Pre-School, at the village. The school was inaugurated on 31st August 2013.
|Ms Speck one of the founders of Bee Tillo|
|Mr Barry Gambia representative of Bee Tillo|
Ms Speck said together with Mr Barry they went to the village of Tungina and felt in love with what the man does there. So they decided that they could give a helping hand on the side of education.
|Pupils of the new nursery school|
The school campus is fenced and there are toilets – separate toilet for
boys, girls and for the teachers. Playground equipments like swings have also been installed at the school by Gambia Speelt Mee, a Dutch foundation established to create more fun for schoolchildren in The Gambia.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
|Cross section of the participants|
Insurance practitioners from various companies in West Africa are undergoing a weeklong international training course on advance marine and aviation insurance in The Gambia.
The training that started on Monday is organised by the West Africa Reinsurance Corporation (WAICA-Re), a sub-regional reinsurance company based in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
It is being attended by about 50 participants from various insurance companies in English-speaking countries of West Africa namely Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. It is underway at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Kololi.
The course was declared open by the governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia, Amadou Colley, who was represented by Mr Saikou Gassama, a senior officer at the Bank.
The participants are being train on modules such as marine cargo underwriting, marine cargo and hull reinsurance, aviation insurance underwriting, and aviation insurance claims and adjustments.
Speaking on the occasion, the managing director and chief executive officer of WAICA Re, Mr Abiola Ekundayo, said marine and aviation are chosen to be main theme of the training because there are obvious challenges in underwriting those two classes of insurance in the sub-region.
“We know there are challenges in these fields in the sense that we do not have many marine and aviation underwriters. Also, if you look at the insurance industry in Africa generally, the old people are going out and the younger ones they are leaving are not well versatile when it comes to underwriting skills, particularly marine and aviation insurance.
“So we are trying to develop them, the younger ones, in order to prepare them for the future so that the industry will not collapse even if all the old ones retire.”
WAICA Re CEO claimed that at the end of the training, by the time the participants listened to various experts, the facilitators, they will also be versatile in underwriting the two classes of insurance – marine and aviation.
Friday, August 9, 2013
Opinion is said to be the cheapest commodity in the world – because every other person has one. This might not be very true of The Gambia where people with contrary views on controversial issues are not able or willing to speak their mind.
Not only on controversial issue but people are mute on things like healthcare delivery and other social issues which they could comment on.
People are afraid of drawing attention of the authorities to some of the issues affecting their lives and livelihood including existing human rights problems and abuses and persuade the government to take action on them.
Instead, most of the times, people only open their mouth in public to praise the government - sing the praises of the big men and women - but keep mute on real issues affecting them as if everything is ok.
However, in principle the Constitution of the land has it that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion … and the freedom to express, impact opinion without interference. In practice, this is far from the reality due to various restrictions that are continuously being enacted by the government.
Citizens with divergent views on some of the national issues are either really afraid or legally not allowed to speak their minds. People are getting more and more scare from speaking their minds on national topical issues. Or if one is so strong with his/her opinion and cannot help button it, the person has to greatly censor him/herself.
People are afraid of speaking their mind for one of two reasons, or both. Some are afraid that in the process of commenting, giving their view on something, they may be seen to be going against the government in which case they could be labelled as an opposition. Though being an opposition is not prohibited anyway! Besides, others are afraid they may fall foul of one of the various laws in the country that limits people’s expression and in which case they will face dire punishment.
It has got to a stage that even when you want discuss certain things with people on phone, you will simply be reminded that “please you are on phone”, as if somebody is listening to everything. Whether that is the case, is another thing but this is an indication that people are afraid even to speak particularly if they hold a divergent view on a controversial topic.
The people have opinions but would not speak.
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
A Dutch foundation, ‘Gambia Speelt Mee’, has donated sets of tables and benches to Aunty Dorricing’s International Nursery School in Brufut Ghana Town. The handing over ceremony of the furniture was held at the school’s ground on Monday.
The foundation donated 36 set of tables and benches 24 of which are sponsored by Madam Therese Min, the wife of the initiator Gambia Speelt Mee, Mr Bert Min. The rest, 12, was sponsored by A.D.I. Funds for Schools, a UK based charity organisation established to support Aunty Dorricing’s Nursery School.
Each of the donated tables and benches can be used by three pupils. Initially, the pupils of the nursery school used to sit on empty crates and some dilapidated benches – without tables.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony, the chairperson of the ceremony, Susana Baiden, said the school teachers and the pupils welcomed the support as it will contribute to the progress of the school. She noted that the furniture will further enhance the quality of education being delivered by the school.
“Now, we are assured that more children will be comfortably seated to pay attention to lesson,” she stated.
Mrs Baiden told Mr and Mrs Min that the pupils of the nursery school see them as great providers for putting smiles on their faces.
The principal of Aunty Dorricing’s International Nursery School, Mr Alexander Mensah, stressed that he is so pleased to receive the furniture because the pupils have not been sitting on good furniture for the past four years. “So I am really honoured by this gesture,” he said.
The school started operations in 2009/2010 academic year and since then none of the six classrooms in the school have good seats.
The school principal said, before now, the pupils used to sit on empty crates. Then the school later got some carpenters to help with some temporary benches but even those benches are dilapidated now.
“So when Bert visited the school during the last academic year to install the playgrounds equipments – three swings - he was touched to see the children sitting on empty crates to attend lesson,” Mr Mensah said. “This is why when he went back to Holland, he talked to his wife to see what they can do and thank God the wife decided to sponsor the school with some tables and benches through the foundation – Gambia Speelt Mee.”
Bert Min, initiator of Gambia Speelt Mee, said he is very pleased that his foundation is helping the pupils with the essentials that they need to attend lesson comfortably.
He said initially, he donated the school and other schools with playground equipment because he did not know that the pupils do not even have the essentials classroom furniture.
Thursday, May 30, 2013
To control price stability and reduce inflation
The Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG) has issued a directive raising the amount of money that commercial banks in the country have to hold as reserve - amount of cash that they should not loan out to customers.
|Governor Amadou Kolley of the Central Bank|
The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the CBG has raised the reserve requirement of commercial banks by two percentage points to 12 per cent, a press release from the Bank on Monday stated.
The higher the reserve requirement is set, the less cash banks will have to loan out, leading to lower money in circulation.
The rationale behind this impromptu decision is to withdraw excess Dalasi liquidity out of the economy and thus help preserve price stability, the release affirmed.
This is one of the additional measures the CBG has taken to restore stability and transparency in the foreign exchange market.
The decision follows a recent decision of the MPC, early this month, when it increased the policy rate by two percentage points to 14 per cent.
The measure was intended to enhance the attractiveness of Dalasi assets and to dampen inflationary pressures.
At that time, the MPC also indicated that it would closely monitor developments as well as take additional measures it deemed absolutely necessary.
According to the press release, the MPC in its monitoring has observed that activities in the foreign exchange market continue to exert pressure on the change rate of the Dalasi.
Such activities like disorderly market conditions, characterised by high exchange rate volatility and wide bid-offer spreads, create inflationary pressure and stifle economic growth
Thursday, May 23, 2013
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved the disbursement of US$2.3 million to The Gambia government to support programmes and structural reforms necessary to reduce the high rate of poverty and boost economic growth in the country.
The disbursement is following the IMF executive board’s completion of the first review of the government’s economic performance under a programme supported by the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement, according to a press release from the IMF-Gambia office on Thursday.
This last disbursement makes the total disbursements under the arrangement to about US$16.2 million.
In May 2012, the executive board of the IMF approved a three-year ECF arrangement with an amount equivalent to about US$28.3 million for The Gambia to support the government's economic programme.
Economy still recovering
“The Gambian economy is still recovering from the severe drought of 2011,” Naoyuki Shinohara, deputy managing director and acting-chair of the IMF, said following the Board’s discussion of The Gambia.
The government’s policies and the support of the international donor community played an important role in enabling the recovery in agriculture to take hold, he noted.
However, he said there are downside risks related to The Gambia’s economic recovery such as the high domestic debt burden, weaknesses in the balance of payments, and inflationary pressures.
The domestic debt of the government increased to D11.3 billion, as at end-March 2013.
“High public indebtedness continues to pose risks to macroeconomic stability and significant costs to the budget,” Mr Shinohara affirmed.