Monday, July 2, 2012

West Africa real estate sector soiled by money laundering


Real estate activities are increasingly being used for money laundering purposes in West Africa, said the latest report of the Intergovernmental Action Group Against Money Laundering (GIABA).
Director General of GIABA, Dr Abdullahi Shehu

In the sub-region, financial crimes are generating wealth generally derived from the scourge of corruption, smuggling, confidence trick and the use of forgeries and drug trafficking, among others.

“In the West Africa region both the real estate and banking sectors are also used for the purpose of money laundering, which also affects cross-border transfer of funds,” GIABA points out in its 2011 report.

According to the report, other practices serving the purposes of illegal enrichment include, “the illegal use of companies and Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs)”, the excessive utilization of the insurance and micro-finance sectors, stock-exchanges and securities, casinos and other sectors of betting and games of chance.

“Factors facilitating the proceedings of money laundering prove to be the vulnerability of states rather than the extent of threats. This accounts for the lack of capacities to decisively tackle the scourge of money laundering, preventive measures, political commitment and sanctions,” says GIABA.

GIABA further indicates that despite considerable efforts to curb money laundering in the region on the national, regional and international level, there remain major legal and constitutional challenges, aggravated by the lack of autonomy of some institutions, and the absence of effective national strategies to fight against money laundering.

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