The Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) began the training of some journalists in investigative Economic and Financial reportage in Cote d’Ivoire on Tuesday.
GIABA is a specialised institution of the ECOWAS responsible for facilitating the adoption and implementation of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Financing of Terrorism in West Africa.
Speaking at the opening of the three-day training in Assinie, Cote d’Ivoire, GIABA’s Director-General, Mr Edward Haris, said it would review techniques of investigative journalism in financial and economic crimes.
He said GIABA had been an important pillar in the fight against money laundering in West Africa as it had been conducting sensitisation programmes for media practitioners since 2009.
Haris added that GIABA was strengthening its cooperation with stakeholders in the media to adopt collective measures against crimes that threatened ECOWAS member states.
“The ECOWAS sub-region is going through a difficult period with regard to health and security issues.
“Côte d’Ivoire, like the other countries of ECOWAS and the world at large, is suffering from acts of organised and cross-border crimes.
“This is particularly in drugs, arms proliferation and illegal wildlife trafficking which fuel violence and terrorism,’’ Haris said.
Thirty journalists from television, radio, print and online media who have shown interest in the fight against financial crimes in the sub-region are participating at the training.
In his remarks, Mr Idrissa Toure, President, Côte d Ivoire Financial Intelligence Unit and president National Correspondents of Cote d’Ivoire appreciated GIABA for training journalists in investigating financial and economic crimes.
He noted that the training would assist journalists to acquire knowledge in the fight against money laundry and combating financing crimes in West African countries.
Toure emphasised that journalists have responsibility to ensure good governance and promotion of transparency in ECOWAS member countries.
Also speaking at the ceremony, Côte d’Ivoire’s Communication Minister, Mr Amadou Coulibaly said government was putting mechanisms in place to fight against financial crime and money laundering.
“Government is working with stakeholders to stop the challenges of money laundering and financing terrorism and insecurity,’’ he said.
He urged journalists to report issues that would support government’s accountability and transparency campaigns. Mr Coulibaly described GIABA as a pillar in establishing an environment devoid of money laundering and favourable to peace building.