Regional workshop on financial investigative techniques to counter terrorism financing in Togo
Like all regions worldwide, West Africa must face the global threat posed by terrorism. In the region, several countries have been affected by attacks, recently, and terrorist groups, like AQIM, Boko Haram and Al-Mourabitoun as well as others, are more and more active. To operate, these groups are constantly seeking for new financial sources, as diverse as kidnapping against ransom or use of charity.
Based on the key role played by Financial intelligence units (FIUs) to counter financing of terrorism (CFT), UNODC Global Programme against Money-Laundering, the Proceeds of Crime and the Financing of Terrorism (GPML) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union "RECEN-UEMOA" jointly organized a regional workshop on financial investigative techniques to counter terrorism financing, thanks to the support of the Governments of Luxembourg and the United States.
Twenty-four representatives of eight countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo) gathered in Lomé, Togo, from the 16 to 19 of August. Opened by the representative of the Togolese Ministry of Economy and Finance, in presence of the representatives of the Togolese Ministries of security and justice, the workshop aimed at strengthening the capacity of investigators and analysts in the monitoring and treatment of illicit financial flows related to terrorism, in particular for the traceability of these flows.
At the opening and after mentioning Resolution 2253 of the Security Council on the importance of counter terrorism and terrorist financing, the representative welcomed the cooperation of the "network of National Units of Financial Information Processing (RECEN- UEMOA) ... [which] is further evidence of the will of the member states of this economic zone to combine their efforts to bring about a more stable framework contributing to the achievement of a common vision." He also emphasized "our great satisfaction at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for its support to RECEN-UEMOA..." in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.
During the activity, in addition to presentations and practical exercises facilitated by UNODC experts, each country was invited to share its own experience in tracking illicit financial flows, enabling the exchange of best practices. The meeting was also an opportunity for participants to deepen their knowledge of relevant international instruments on the fight against illicit funding, of most efficient and modern methodologies for collecting, analyzing and processing financial information linked to terrorism. Participants also worked on a list of recommendations to be shared on their return with relevant national authorities, in order to combat financing of terrorism. These recommendations stressed the need to identify more clearly national vulnerabilities and to improve regional cooperation among FIUs.
Evaluation forms were circulated at the end of the workshop and most of the participants indicated that after this workshop, they would be able to make better use of terrorists' lists for intelligence gathering. In addition, numerous participants mentioned they would organize an internal meeting in their respective units to share the skills and knowledge gained over this workshop.