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Senior officials and key anti-money laundering stakeholders from the Federal Government of Somalia and the Member States of Puntland, Jubbaland and Galmudug have committed to join the fight against money laundering.

This follows three-day sensitization workshop in Djibouti from 19th to 21st April 2017 aimed at creating awareness amongst reporting entities and government agencies.

The workshop, which brought together 22 participants was organized by COMESA in collaboration with IGAD, was a part of a larger Regional Maritime Security Programme (MASE), which is implemented by four regional bodies supported by the European Union under the 10th European Development Fund.

The event helped participants to develop strategies and identify actions to be undertaken in their respective States. These revolved around establishing informal focal points in the respective states to liaise with the Financial Intelligence Units at the Federal Government as well as commitments towards wider sensitization of anti-money laundering issues.

COMESA MASE programme has managed to extend its support to nine out of the ten core countries supported by the programme. However, little success has been realized in Somalia due to a combination of factors, which include the insecurity as well as the elections which have suffered several postponements.

“The holding of the workshop was therefore seen as a very positive achievement of the programme, especially as the larger MASE programme was developed to combat Maritime piracy off the Coast of Somalia,” the Head of Peace and Governance Programme at COMESA Ms Elizabeth Mutunga said.

The event provides an opportunity for the participants to share experiences on the complex situation that exists in Somalia such as the   Hawala system of money transfer, which is unique to country, and which has often been seen as a risk factor in the fight against money laundering.

The participants were also taken through issues around piracy, money laundering and terrorist financing; and the stages of money laundering. These included examples of basic offences of money laundering and details on the international standards as set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which guide the fight against money laundering, terrorist financing and financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.