Thursday, September 12, 2013

West African accountants urge to cooperate with other authorities to tackle money laundering

Dr Abdullahi Shehu, DG of GIABA
Accountants in the West African sub-region should cooperate and collaborate with relevant authorities in their countries to curb the menace of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing (ML and FT), said the director general of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (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.”

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Almost 600 million Africans rely on kerosene lamps and candles for lighting

Six out of every ten Africans, representing 600 million people, rely on dangerous fuel-based lighting like kerosene lamps and candles, Lighting Africa Progress Report has stated.

“This large proportion of Africans who lack electricity spends US$ 10.5 billion a year on kerosene which is the dominant source of lighting,” the 2013 annual report of Lighting Africa says.

It notes that kerosene is used as a primary lighting source by 53 per cent of Africa’s population.

The report also states that resorting to expensive and dangerous fuel-based lighting poses fire hazards and causes pollution.

It suggests that the continent should consider shifting to other sources of energy like windmill and solar.