Gambian Minister Invites Media to Assist Gov’t Expose Corrupt People
Minister Abdou Kolley
Monday, July 02, 2012
Though known for shutting its doors at the media, The Gambia government, through its finance minister, now wants the media to assist in the fight against corruption – a social vice reported to be deep-rooted in this part of the world.
“Indeed, the dictates of justice establish that every patriotic citizen has his fair share in the building of our societies,” said Minister Abdou Colley.
“To this end, journalists in this country are, and will always be, encouraged to do their job without bias or ill-feeling towards others…
“We therefore call upon all journalists to endeavour to assist our various governments in exposing corrupt people and systems.”
Minister Colley extended this invitation while delivering a keynote address at the Laico Atlantic Hotel where 43 journalists from the five English speaking West African countries – Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria and The Gambia - converged on Thursday and Friday.
Aimed at enhancing the ability of the journalists to produce reports and articles of quality on anti-money laundering and counter-financing terrorism, the seminar was organised by the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Anti-Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA).
It was held a day after the National Assembly of The Gambia passed the new Anti-Money Laundering and Combating of Terrorist Financing Act, 2012, which replaced that of the flawed 2003 anti-money laundering legislation.
For Minister Kolley, money laundering is a crime that is complex and not easy to detect and contain, describing it as a menace that is causing serious consequences on political, social and economic development around the globe and no nation is spared.
“As we all know, this criminal activity is usually fuelled by corruption and greed, thus undermining sustainable development aspirations of nations, due to the fact the finances generated under this illegal and criminal manner are mainly utilised to sponsor illegal activities in society,” he further stated.
He however acknowledged the fact that there are daunting challenges facing the journalists as a poorly-skilled journalist gets poorly paid, and may not get the requisite tools to perform his job well.
“They might therefore subdue to patrons in order to make up for inadequate income. These challenges are indeed peculiar to West Africa and could prompt the question of what we, as governments across the Ecowas region are doing to ensure that journalists carry out their job in a conducive environment,” he added.
Speakigearlier, was GIABA’s director of programmes and projects, Dr. BunoNduka. He said one of the important activities of his organisation is the delivery of relevant training programmes, aimed at stemming the tide of money laundering and terrorist financing in the West African region.
Briefly highlighting on the mandate of GIABA, he described the sub-regional organisation as a specialised institution of ECOWAS, and a Financial Action Task Force (FATF) - Style Regional Body (FSRB) established by the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS in 2000.
“The establishment of GIABA is one of the main responses and contributions of ECOWAS towards the prevention of and global fight against transnational criminal activities, particularly money laundering and terrorist financing,” Dr. BunoNduka said.
He continued: “Within the years of existence, GIABA has been assisting member States through regional activities, technical assistance and organisation of training programs for different actors and sectors involved in the efforts and actions against these scourges.
“Indeed, GIABA has been at the forefront of efforts to institutionalise international best practices and standards in the region, in the areas relating to its mandate, especially the fight against money laundering, terrorist financing and corruption,” he posited
According to him, the need to build the capacity of the media practitioners and to have them as informed allies in the fight against the scourges, is critical to the overall success of the implementation of money laundering and counter-financing terrorism framework in the region.