TRYNESS TEMBO, Lusaka
COMMON Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to deepen collaboration in combating money laundering.
The programme is designed to address maritime insecurity by targeting the financial aspects such as money laundering to fight piracy and is being implemented in 10 countries in eastern and southern Africa with the financial support of the European Union.
COMESA secretary-general Sindiso Ngwenya and ESAAMLG executive secretary Eliawony Kisanga signed on behalf of their respective organisations on Tuesday.
Mr Ngwenya said money launderers, whose main goal, is to hide the proceeds of crime can negatively affect economic growth of a country.
“Money launderers do not share the profit- making objectives of legitimate private sector. Their objective is to hide or protect their proceeds of crime.
“They will pump the illegally-gotten money into sectors that effectively hide the proceeds, which may result in a real distortion of the economy especially in small economies,” he said.
He said companies that operate using laundered cash are able to reduce their prices below the cost of production, which can effectively crowd out legitimate private sector.
Mr Ngwenya also said there is need for collaboration to effectively fight money laundering because if allowed to thrive, it can erode the integrity of the financial institutions of member states and affect currencies as well as interest rates.
Commenting on the development, Dr Kisanga said the organisation will continue to work with COMESA to fight money laundering in the region.
“The signing of the MoU will enhance the capacity of the two organisations to achieve their goals in combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism,” he said.