GIABA Expands the Frontier of the Fight against Money Laundering, Takes High-Level Advocacy to the National Authorities of Sao Tome and Principe
The Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) is an ECOWAS Specialised Institution responsible for Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorist (AML/CFT) in West Africa. Sao Tome and Principe is one of the Non-ECOWAS members of GIABA. The DG of GIABA, Justice Kimelabalou ABA, led GIABA delegation to sensitise the national authorities of the country to secure their commitment to continued compliance with the global AML/CFT standards. The visit was made on Tuesday November 09 to Friday, November 12, 2021.
Sao Tome and Principe is yet to conduct its National Risk Assessment, the Second Round of the Mutual Evaluation is not yet in sight; and there is need to strengthen the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), and ensure its full autonomy. The GIABA team met with all the relevant high-level national authorities and enumerated issues and areas the country should prioritise to meet its commitment to protect its and the global financial systems.
The DG and his team met with the followings:
* His Excellency, Carlos Manuel Vila Nova - The President, Sao Tome and Principe
* His Excellency, Jorge Lopes Bom Jesus - The Prime Minister, Sao Tome and Principe
* Hon. Engracio do Sacramento Soares da Graca - Minister of Finance & Econ. Planing
* Hon. Ivete Santos Lima Correia - Minister of Justice, Pub. Admin. & Human Rights
* Rt. Hon. Sebastiao Pinheiro - For the President of the National Assembly (Parliament)
* Mr. Lius F. Monteiro Souza - Deputy Governor of the Central Bank For the Governor
* Mr. Inald Kelve Nobre De Cavalho - Prosecutor-General of Sao Tome and Principe
* The management team of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU)
* The Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) - A multi-stakeholders Committee
The highlight of this important stakeholders’ sensitisation, mobilisation and advocacy to the authorities was the realisation of the ills and consequences of non-compliance with ML/TF measures. In response, the country agreed to three key areas highlighted by the GIABA delegation.
v The leaders pledged to honor all commitments to GIABA’s membership; thus, requested GIABA and development/technical partners’ continuous support.
v Agreed that there is a need to quickly mobilise the country’s stakeholders and necessary resources to conduct the National Risk Assessment. In doing this, GIABA pledged to provide technical support to the country through the process.
v The leaders demonstrated commitment to mobilise the country’s stakeholders for the 2nd round of Mutual Evaluation (ME) exercise of the country in line with GIABA’s calendar for the 2nd round ME.
The visit concluded with a meeting with all the stakeholders (multi-sectoral committee/the IMC). The group was sensitised on the processes ahead and the roles they have to play to make the country comply with the global requirements in the fight against Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Proliferation Financing. The President of the Republic thanked the GIABA team for their visit and continuous support for the country.