|Dr Abdullahi Shehu, DG of GIABA|
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.”