A step forward against money laundering and terrorism financing in Mali

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The anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) system gives a central role to financial Intelligence units (FIUs). However, to play their effective role, these units rely on the cooperation of national reporting entities to transmit suspicious transaction reports, every time they have such a suspicion.

On 17 March 2016, Mali adopted a new AML/CFT law detailing the obligations of national reporting entities. In this context, as part of the Sahel Programme and thanks to the financial support of the Government of Luxembourg, UNODC Global Programme against Money-Laundering, the Proceeds of Crime and the Financing of Terrorism (GPML) organized an awareness raising workshop for these reporting entities. Between 17 and 19 May 2016, a three-day event gathered 23 representatives of financial and non-financial sectors in Bamako (i.e. banks, notaries, lawyers, jewellery and mining sectors, customs, tax, land register and regulation of public sector).

The group of participants after the workshop
The group of participants after the workshop

The workshop was opened by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Mrs Sidibé Zamilatou CISSE, in presence of the press. The President of the FIU, Mr. Marimpa SAMOURA, underlined the critical need for awareness raising activities. He presented the role of the FIU as well as the form to report a suspicious transaction. It should be noted that only one participant knew about this form before the workshop and most of them never read the new AML/CFT law until then.

Practical exercises aimed at understanding regional criminal threats and national vulnerabilities took place during the event. Besides, participants also reflected in groups on how they will use this training in their everyday work. Concrete actions were listed such as increasing the understanding of the new law, putting in place actions to raise awareness on these issues among their colleagues, and using the FIU and the form to report suspicious transactions. For instance, a lawyer shared a story of a suspicious transaction he witnessed in the past. He stated that thanks to this workshop, he now knows that in such cases, he has to draft a suspicious transaction report.

During the closing ceremony, participants expressed their wish to see more training activities of this sort in Mali, and hope that UNODC will continue supporting the FIU in its awareness raising efforts.