ALERT!!! WITH NEEDED UPDATES AND REMINDERS WHERE COMBATING ECONOMIC CRIMES ESPECIALLY THOSE THAT CROSS BORDERS, THE ILLICIT FLOW OF ARMS, DRUGS, HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND OR MUSHROOMING TERRORIST ACTIVITIES IN WEST AFRICAN COUNTRIES INCLUDING THE GAMBIA REMAIN A CHALLENGE AND CONCERN. LATTER CANNOT BE REALIZED IN THE ABSENCE ESTABLISHING EIUs OR FIUs. ECONOMIC INTELLIGENCE UNITS OR FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE UNITS.
NOT ONLY THAT, AGENTS AT THESE UNITS ALSO MUST BE HIGHLY TRAINED BOTH LOCALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY THUS REMAIN SOPHISTICATED WITHIN A DIGITAL WORLD WHERE REMAINING ALERT MUST BE COMPLEMENTED WITH ABILITY NOT WISHFUL THINKING.
Analysis By Essa Bokarr SY.
Sometimes I am tickled by what I observe or realize in the streets or ACTIVITIES in The Gambia which urges me to share some views from professional standpoint being propelled by passion and responsibility reserved in the heart of a concerned citizen. Especially when I reflect on the past months or when I returned to The Gambia or West Africa almost a year or ago. My return does not mean I would remain static in The Gambia without traveling in and out either. Of course those travels are most of the time for professional reasons. When I travel out of The Gambia I observe things like any other passenger is expected to be doing.. When crossing the border I remain observant and alert.. When I return also I do continue observing a lot of other things as awareness cannot be guaranteed in the absence of observation!
A case in point is a couple of months back I was invited by the Senegalese government to attend the International forum on security in Africa, held at the Diaz international conference.
In light of the aforesaid, I deem it necessary and timely to be discussing topics or issues related to security threats or concerns within and outside this zone for obvious reasons.
Alongside in the year 2017 I was invited all the way from the United States by organizations like Security Day and Afridi in Senegal..Being institutions who specialize on matters related to the above captioned subject. We converged at King Fahad hotel to deliberate on the following theme: “DIGITAL TRUST IN WEST AFRICA”.
During both events experts spoke lengthily on economic intelligence, trade links and so on. Certainly we need economic growth but and a big but for that matter crimes without doubt must be identified or detected during these transactions. Never lose sight of the fact that criminals including terrorists also use so called business to business relations to “ENTICE” people especially those who are active within the business industry. Latter can definitely not be done where we exclude catching the attention of law enforcement agents or government officials whose areas of competence cover that part of the mosaic of daily goings and comings of people and goods or the wiring and receiving of monies and the like.
TRUST NOT all financial transactions especially those that originate from “suspicious” sources. Well the latter appears to be so easy for those who believe that it is “essentially commonsense” but be careful! Do not simplify in such a passive mode. Especially where one seems arrogant or is too confident that they are intelligent therefore “know it all”.
Sometimes agents are trained on AML Anti Money Laundering let’s say in The Gambia but is that enough? Mark you! Bankers are also trained on AML. In fact most bankers receive wider and deeper and become experts in these areas when compared to the agents assigned to track their activities! Does that mean the banker would think and act like an intel agent who was trained, took an oath and has guidelines to keep him or her on track? No! I can tell you this right here and now that bankers or sales agents in Cambio wechels, places like WU Western Unions, Wari, Jonijoni and so on maybe in fact be more susceptible to being PENETRATED and or CORRUPTED by highly educated criminals or sophisticated syndicates or worst of all terrorist organizations. Working with bankers or sales agents can be cordial as long as what is being tallied or matched with what they do does not leave suspicious leads. Once those leads leave so much to be desired as far as the banker’s or sales agent’s activities means that side of the “map of banking” should be zoomed upon forth with!
Pursing such syndicates cannot be done by amateurs or agents who see themselves as 007s in Gambia when in the real world they are far from being what they believe in their heads.
Seriously speaking I would prefer an educated genius over that one who is anointed or being massaged by preference or selective amnesia.
It is obvious that there are FIUs Financial Intelligence Units in most West African countries including The Gambia. However, what remains to be seen is for those agents or agencies to remain extremely alert.
Remaining alert includes maintaining sophisticated equipment then inject “under cover” activities within “visible” or sometimes “invisible” syndicates locally and internationally. Gambia is in the 3rd Republic after removing a dictator. Yes that is commendable and highly welcome! That said, on the other hand we must equally bear in mind that there were syndicates working with the former establishment. Believe it or not some of them are neither weakened nor neutralized or eradicated! Mark you! being dormant is not the same as being neutralized. Being weakened also is not the same as being eradicated. On either side of the coin we cannot just allow ourselves to sit and watch security lose the plot! Believe it not they are trying all they can to come back to resettle with the new establishment. They may appear genuine and friendly yet their motives remain the same!
Discussing topics like these raises awareness and then reminds all of us of the need to keep verifying even those we trust or what we trust.
What is the first card on the table when playing such games in the world of money making ACTIVITIES or in a world where sleeper cells continue twisting left and right alongside searching for preys or easy targets?
Your poker card should always be DISTRUST before verifications complete their turn around time.
Remember when former president Reagan coined this phrase ? “TRUST BUT VERIFY”.
Financial transactions to and from any business entity, individual or institution must always be guided by scrutiny. Which is usually the fastest way to detect what leads to dangerous end results.
In fact I would recommend that Gambian agents contact Senegal or at best be attending court proceedings regarding some people who were arrested and are going through the courts as we speak.To be more precise one Kebe’s case.
Never wait until it hits then start making noise or investigate. Always start with the remotest signal, expand on it finally proceed toward convincing findings. Always remain IMPARTIAL!
Inshaa Allah until we meet again in the arena of raising awareness I advise myself and you to remain adamant and alert by standing up against all odds caused by threats to security and stability. Gambia is our Gambia so let us all make sure it is safe, stable and on left on a ready mode for progress!