Countries/Jurisdictions of Primary Concern - Gambia

Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
Report

The Gambia is not a regional financial center, although it is a regional re-export center. The Gambia derives most of its GDP from agriculture, tourism, remittances, and the re-export trade, with most transactions conducted in cash. Goods and capital are freely and legally traded in The Gambia, and, as is the case in other re-export centers, smuggling of goods occurs. Although The Gambia has limited capacity to monitor its porous borders, customs officials cooperate with counterparts in Senegal to combat smuggling along their common border. A lack of resources hinders law enforcement’s ability to combat smuggling more effectively.

The Gambia has been linked to money laundering in West Africa. In 2011, the U.S. government publicly identified the Lebanese Canadian Bank (LCB), together with its foreign subsidiaries, as a financial institution of primary money laundering concern under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act for LCB’s role in facilitating the money laundering activities of an international narcotics trafficking and money laundering network. LCB’s subsidiaries included the Gambia-based Prime Bank. Prime Bank was reportedly liquidated in 2013 after it was divested by its Lebanese parent and, therefore, unable to meet new capital requirements imposed by the Central Bank of The Gambia.

It is unclear to what extent money laundering is related to narcotics, but recent seizures of large amounts of cocaine and marijuana have heightened renewed international concerns. The rapid growth of commercial banks entering the local market in the past few years, currently 13, also raises possible money laundering concerns. These concerns are further heightened by the problems of persistently weak controls and supervision, the dominance of cash transactions, a poor know-your-customer compliance culture, and massive inflows of tourists.

For additional information focusing on terrorist financing, please refer to the Department of State’s Country Reports on Terrorism, which can be found at: http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/

DO FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS ENGAGE IN CURRENCY TRANSACTIONS RELATED TO INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS TRAFFICKING THAT INCLUDE SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF US CURRENCY; CURRENCY DERIVED FROM ILLEGAL SALES IN THE U.S.; OR ILLEGAL DRUG SALES THAT OTHERWISE SIGNIFICANTLY AFFECT THE U.S.: NO

CRIMINALIZATION OF MONEY LAUNDERING:
“All serious crimes” approach or “list” approach to predicate crimes: List approach
Are legal persons covered: criminally: YES civilly: YES

KNOW-YOUR-CUSTOMER (KYC) RULES:
Enhanced due diligence procedures for PEPs: Foreign: YES Domestic: NO
KYC covered entities: Banks and microfinance entities; money remitters and exchanges; financial instrument and securities brokers and dealers; real estate agents; bullion dealers; casinos and lottery outlets; insurance companies and intermediaries; payroll services; guarantors and safe custody services; and trust and company service providers

REPORTING REQUIREMENTS:
Number of STRs received and time frame: 70: November 2012 - October 2013
Number of CTRs received and time frame: Not available
STR covered entities: Banks and microfinance entities; money remitters and exchanges; financial instrument and securities brokers and dealers; real estate agents; bullion dealers; casinos and lottery outlets; insurance companies and intermediaries; payroll services; guarantors and safe custody services; and trust and company service providers

MONEY LAUNDERING CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS/CONVICTIONS:
Prosecutions: 0 in 2013
Convictions: 0 in 2013

RECORDS EXCHANGE MECHANISM:
With U.S.: MLAT: NO Other mechanism: NO
With other governments/jurisdictions: YES

The Gambia is a member of the Inter Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), a FATF-style regional body. Its most recent mutual evaluation can be found at: http://www.giaba.org/reports/mutual-evaluation/Gambia.html

ENFORCEMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES AND COMMENTS:

In February 2013, the board of directors of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) was inaugurated, and a new director was appointed in November 2013. The Government of The Gambia should now follow through with a planned increase in the FIU’s budget, so as to enable it to recruit and train additional personnel.

Similarly, The Gambia should provide adequate resources and capacity to its law enforcement, supervisory, and customs personnel so they are able to effectively fulfill their responsibilities. Gambian authorities should investigate the country’s re-export sector to determine whether it is being used to launder criminal proceeds.

Finally, The Gambia should criminalize outstanding predicate offenses to money laundering, adopt effective laws and procedures to implement UNSCRs 1267 and 1373, and become a party to both the UN International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and the UN Convention against Corruption.