REGIONAL WEBINARS ON COUNTERING FINANCING OF TERRORISM/ ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING (CFT/AML) AND TRANSNATIONAL ORGANIZED CRIME (TOC)

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The African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT/CAERT) organized a Regional Webinars on Countering Financing of Terrorism, Money Laundering and Transnational Organized Crime (TOC) for Member States of The Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) on 22 to 24 March 2021.

This Webinar is a continuation of the work already undertaken under the auspices of the African Union and the ACSRT in the fight against the financing of terrorism. It is also part of the implementation of the recommendations of the High-Level Conference on Combating Terrorist Financing in Africa held in Algiers in April 2018. It comes after the one organized for Groupe Anti-Blanchiment d’Argent en Afrique centrale (GABAC) Member States from 8 to 10 February 2021.

The Webinar seeks to provide an opportunity for ESAAMLG Member States to take stock of the progress made thus far including their legislations against FT, ML and TOC , compared with regional and relevant international instruments and standards, and re-align their operational modalities in combating the triple phenomena.
In addition, the Webinar has the following objectives, inter alia, to:

– Harmonize legislations in member countries with respect to criminalizing the illicit flow of funds into and outside concerned countries.
– Identify gaps in existing legislations and propose reviewing laws to fill the gaps so identified.
– Share experiences among experts and stakeholders and appropriate legislations in dealing with illicit financial flows.
– Identify best practices in the enforcement of laws pertaining to illicit financial flows.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Idriss Mounir Lallali, Ag. Director of the ACSRT expressed his gratitude to ESAAMLG for their remarkable work in the fight against the financing of terrorism and money laundering.

Mr. Lallali indicated that tremendous work has been done individually and collectively to curb terrorism financing since 1999, however more needs to be done, judging by how the threat has increased in strength, frequency, and brutality and how it has also spread geographically. He further added that large terrorist organizations, small terrorist groups and extremist cells, including Foreign Terrorist Fighters and the so-called lone wolves require stable funding to operate, although the approaches to securing the required funding may vary among them. Money is, therefore, the biggest vulnerability of these groups. Preventing and disrupting financial flows must, therefore, remain at the centre of any successful strategy to defeat terrorism and violent extremism.

Mr. Lallali encouraged the participants to be very innovative and creative, by thinking outside the box, to be able to find solutions to the present situation and be able to anticipate what ways terrorists and violent extremisms might find to finance their operations., which should put us a step ahead of them and would allow us to identify exactly where we need to put pressure to cut their financial lifeline to the point of submission and total elimination.

He concluded that the Commission would, on its part, continue to work with Partners and the international community to enhance the capacities of Member States for effective prevention and combating of terrorist financing and terrorism in general.

Dr. Eliawony J. KISANGA, the ESAAMLG Executive Secretary, in his opening remarks, welcomed the ASCRT initiative of organizing such an event that would help ESAAMLG Member States to identify relevant measures aiming at addressing growing criminal phenomena, amongst which illicit exploitation and trade of mineral resources, illegal immigration, human traffic, poaching, that constitute potential sources of financing of terrorism and money laundering, and could further fuel transnational criminal activities in the region. He encouraged participants to acquire, as much as possible, new knowledge on CFT/AML and countering CTO, and to share acquired knowledge with their colleagues that could not take part in the webinar. He then formally launched the webinar.

Participants for the three-day webinar meeting included participants from ESAAMLG Member States, UNCTED, UNODC and AFRIPOL in addition to representatives of African regional FATF-Style Regional Bodies.