Moroni- Comoros, Friday, October 4, 2019: As rising cases of money laundering and related crimes continue to pose global threat to peace and security, regional countries are taking measures to reinforce their capacity to combat the crime.
The Union of the Comoros is one the states that have taken this threat seriously and is working with stakeholders to enhance its capacity to fight money laundering and terrorism financing.
Last week in Comoros capital Moroni, over 100 staff from vulnerable sectors of the economy including banking, bureau de change, insurance and real estate, were trained on the use of World Bank National Risk Assessment tool in assessing their country’s Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing (ML/TF) risks.
The training took place on 2 – 4 October 2019. It was supported by COMESA Maritime Security (MASE) programme funded by the European Union and facilitated by World Bank experts.
According to experts, assessment of countries’ risks and application of risk-based approaches is a requirement in the global fight against the vice hence the importance of undertaking national money laundering and terrorist financing risk assessment.
“This helps in prioritization of resource allocation, formulation of policies relating to anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism,” said the experts.
The Comorian Minister of Finance and Budget Mr Said Ali Chayhane, who was the chief guest at the event, expressed his government’s commitment to curbing financial crimes which he described as potentially damaging to economic development.
“Our country will now be regarded positively in the global market after this training, considering our strategic location on the map, which can be used as a route for transnational crimes,” he said.
He added that identification of the risks was an important aspect of development and transparency and since Comoros was also a member of other regional groupings, it is imperative to be involved at every level to ensure its development is not hindered.
Minister Chayhane thanked COMESA for continuously supporting Comoros to ensure the country’s anti-money laundering capacity is strengthened. In the past, COMESA MASE has provided support to train Comoros Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) analysts in tactic and strategic analysis and law enforcement agencies in financial investigations and asset recovery.
The country has also received support towards joining regional inter-governmental action group against money laundering and attachment of government officials to Financial Intelligence Units in other countries for bench-marking.
At least six ministers attended the opening ceremony of the workshop. These were ministers in charge of Justice, Interior, Health, Education, Telecommunications, and Public Works. Other guests included representatives of the World Bank, Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa, the Diplomatic Community in Comoros, Central Bank of Comoros various anti-money laundering stakeholders and COMESA.