Lamin Jahateh, editor and publisher of Gambia News Online, an online newspaper, on Thursday left to Dakar, Senegal, to attend the World Press Conference organized by the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA).
Mr Jahateh, who is the national correspondent of African Press Agency (APA), will join other journalists and media executives from various media houses within and outside the West African region at the conference which is meant to sensitise information managers to their responsibilities and obligations under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime towards fostering and strengthening partnership between GIABA and the media in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing in West Africa.
To be held from 27-28 April at Radisson Blu Hotel in Dakar, this year’s World Press Conference will involve briefing of Ambassadors of ECOWAS countries in Senegal on emerging development on AML/CFT issues.
According to the organisers, the World Press Conference seeks to raise awareness of the ills of money laundering and terrorist financing and the need to report on financial crimes; as well as provide documentation and research materials to assist journalists in their reporting.
The high point of the event, the organisers said, would be a presentation of GIABA’s activities and scorecard by the Director General, Dr. Abdullahi Shehu and the presentation of the 2011 GIABA Annual Report.
This will give the media practitioners like Mr Jahateh - who is also the sub-editor at the MarketPlace Magazine - and other participants a tool to report on the scourges of money laundering and terrorist financing in the West African economies.
It is expected that at the end of the conference the media practitioners would be better aware and equipped on money laundering and terrorist financing issues and hope to enhance coverage on financial crimes investigative reporting in member States, as well as lead to improved knowledge of the citizenry on the problems of money laundering and terrorist financing.
GIABA, a specialized institution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as well as Financial Action Task Force-Styled Regional Body (FRSB), was established by the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS in the year 2000 with the mandate to protect the national economies and financial system of member States from abuse and laundering the proceeds of crime.
The institution recognizes the importance of the media in raising public awareness in the areas of money laundering and terrorist financing, and has devised different strategies in sharing necessary information with the press, one of which is the periodic press briefing.
In this vein, GIABA in 2010 launched the Annual Interactive Session for Media Executives as a platform for acquainting the executives about GIABA activities and to solicit their cooperation and participation in propagating AML/CFT messages across the region. Mr Jahateh, who did his training on reporting money laundering and terrorist financing in Freetown, Sierra Leone, was also privileged to be part of that event as well.