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PARTNER STATES URGED TO TAKE CONCRETE STEPS AGAINST MONEY LAUNDERING, TERRORISM / AS 30 REGIONAL EXPERTS RECEIVE TRAINING IN BUJUMBURA ON GROWING SOPHISTICATION OF THESE CRIMES

By East African Community (EAC)

ARUSHA, Tanzania, April 30, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- EAC Partner States have been exhorted to take joint concrete steps in preventing and combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism activities in the region.

The call was made by Burundi's Minister for Public Security, Hon. Gabriel Nizigama, when opening a four-day high level workshop of experts on anti-money laundering and financing of terrorism in Bujumbura, Burundi on 23 April.

“EAC countries can succeed in preventing and countering anti-money laundering and terrorism financing through concerted joint regional efforts,” stated Hon. Nizigama.

The region, he said, needed specific measures to detect and deter criminal activities through record keeping and client identification and also swift reporting of any suspicious transactions or persons.

The workshop, attended by anti-money laundering experts, financial Intelligence unit, revenue authorities, legal counsels, police and security officers, was organized by the EAC in collaboration with the Australian government.

The workshop was a result of a decision of the 4th meeting of the Sectoral Council on Inter-State Security, which identified money laundering as a major threat to the regional integration.

EAC Deputy Secretary General (in-charge of Political Federation), Hon. Beatrice Kiraso said that as the regional integration deepens, it would inevitably be accompanied with threats and criminal activities.

“We have a responsibility to protect our financial infrastructure and stability of our economies if benefits of integration have to be seen,” she said, adding that crimes like money laundering and financing of terrorism activities must be fought relentlessly or else would undermine the region's economic development, scare investors and compromise the peace and stability enjoyed in the East African countries.

“The credibility of our financial systems is thus tied to how far we will put in place both legal and institutional measures proximately and collectively in this endeavor,” she said in a speech read on her behalf by the EAC Peace and Security Expert, Mr. Leonard Onyonyi.

She commended the Australia government for its offer to support the EAC region in strengthening anti-money laundering processes, which she said was an entry point in their envisaged areas of further co-operation.

The representative of the Australian government, Mr. Mike Petty, said that regional and international cooperation was essential for effectively fighting organized crime.

“Globalization not only brings together modern technologies and communities, but also criminals and serious crimes,” he told the audience in his opening remarks.

He noted Australia's strong history of working collaboratively with regional organizations to promote security, stability and growth, and assured of his country's commitment to strengthen its engagement in Africa.


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