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10 February 2017

Combating money laundering and terrorism financing in West Africa

LOME, Togo – A set of recommendations on combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism in West Africa has been developed following an 18-month programme led by INTERPOL.

Drafted and adopted by some 45 high-level representatives from the 15 member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) at the final meeting of the INTERPOL Capacity Building Programme to Combat Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism in West Africa, the recommendations are based on four pillars:

  • International cooperation with a particular focus on the West African Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCCO);
  • Legal framework;
  • Operational support; and
  • Capacity building and training.

The recommendations will be submitted by the Head of INTERPOL’s Regional Bureau Abidjan to the ECOWAS Peace and Security Sub-Division and the President of WAPCCO.

Organized by INTERPOL’s Criminal Networks unit and sponsored by the Global Affairs Canada, the three-day (31 January - 2 February) workshop brought together high-ranking officials from criminal investigation police, economic and financial crimes units, financial intelligence units and prosecution services.

In addition to sharing information on emerging regional threats related to money laundering, participants also discussed ways to improve regional cooperation and underlined their commitment to reinforce operational capacity while improving their national frameworks to combat these threats.

Commissioner of Togo Police, Teko Mawuli Koudouvoh, commended INTERPOL for its regional efforts and encouraged the high-level delegates to take advantage of the regional workshop to enhance their operational efforts as well as transnational cooperation to combat transnational crime, especially money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Addressing the workshop, Canada’s Ambassador to Togo, Heather Cameron, said: “Canada is proud to support the INTERPOL Programme to Combat Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism in West Africa which is both timely and relevant. It will build the capacity and operational connectivity of law enforcement officers in order to prevent and combat effectively money laundering and the financing of terrorism in this sub-region”.

Kedji Abbe, Head of the INTERPOL Regional Bureau in Abidjan, reaffirmed INTERPOL’s commitment to enhancing regional capacity to combat transnational crime. Because of its strategic location, the West African region is in a unique position to seize the opportunity to lead initiatives in combating money laundering and terrorism financing for the entire continent.