COMESA has handed over Information and Communications Technology (ICT) equipment and analytical software worth over US$ 110,000 to the Djibouti Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). The tools were procured through COMESA Regional Maritime Security (MASE) programme, which is funded by the European Union.
The equipment is intended to enhance the efficiency of the analytical work done by the FIU Unit as well as the quality of the intelligence disseminated to Law Enforcement Agencies and other relevant stakeholders, supporting the country’s daily efforts to fight money laundering and financial crimes.
Receiving the equipment on behalf of the government, Central Bank of Djibouti Governor Mr Ahmed Osman Ali said the fight against financial crime needs concerted efforts.
“This handover is very important for Djibouti and it will greatly booster our efforts in tackling the different forms of financial crime in this region.”
He commended COMESA and the EU for providing the equipment and added that the Central Bank is more than ready to use it effectively and achieve the desired results.
Apart from strengthening the IT capacity of its FIU, COMESA has also assisted Djibouti in translating its anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) Laws into Arabic, an important step in the country’s endeavor to align its policies to international standards and become a member of the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF).
Representative of COMESA Secretary General, Ms. Elizabeth Mutunga, said the root factor that is of concern for COMESA within the MASE programme has been to strengthen the fight against money laundering. Adding that piracy, or any other crime is motivated and propagated by money.
“If therefore, the ability for criminals to access their illicit funds arising from criminal activities is made more difficult, then we can expect that the crime will also be reduced and hopefully ultimately eradicated,”. She said.
EU Resident Representative in Djibouti Ambassador Adam Kulach said the fight against money laundering in the region will only succeed if key institutions such as Central Banks are strengthened.
He said the EU’s commitment to support the region and urged the Central Bank to put the equipment to good use.
Three other Regional Economic Communities (RECs) are implementing the MASE programme addressing different components of maritime security and the fight against maritime crimes.
The RECs are the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the East African Community (EAC) and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC).
The COMESA component of the programme is implemented in partnership with Interpol, focusing on building capacity in the ESA-IO region to disrupt financial network of pirates and their financiers.
COMESA strives to strengthen Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) chain, from improving the legal environment to strengthening the capacity of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.