The GIABA Statutes were revised in January 2006 to reflect the increasing link between Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism around the world. The revision of the Statutes was also partly justified by the terrorist attacks against the United States of America on September 11, 2001.

MINDFUL of Decision A/DEC.9/12/99 of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government establishing the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa;

MINDFUL of Decision A/DEC.6/12/00 adopting the Statutes of GIABA;

MINDFUL of Decision A/DEC.3/01/05 amending Articles 8 (ii), 9 (ii) and 9 (iii) of the Statutes of GIABA;

MINDFUL of the 17 July 2004 Declaration of the fifty-second session of the Council of Ministers of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) by which ministers undertook to fulfill all the conditions that will facilitate the recognition of GIABA as a FATF-Style Regional Body (FSRB);

The Member State acknowledge that:

Money laundering and financing of terrorism are issues of critical importance to the world community which require global action; West Africa needs to address these issues and find global solutions to them;

West Africa is particularly vulnerable to money laundering and financing of terrorism because other regions have adopted appropriate measures to effectively tackle these problems;

The capacity of individual countries to deal with these issues is limited, due to the nature, complexity and international scope of the problem posed;

Close cooperation between these countries is necessary, and countries have much to gain by promoting better understanding of the problems and their solutions;

The economies and financial systems of the countries need to be protected from laundered money and proceeds from terrorist activities;

International measures exist that can be used to effectively combat money laundering and financing of terrorism, particularly the recommendations by the Financial Action Task Force;

The United Nations Security Council has adopted a number of treaties and resolutions on money laundering and financing of terrorism (AML/CFT);

The FATF Recommendations constitute reference guidelines for the establishment of a complete AML/CFT system;

1. The conference of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) decided on the creation of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) on 10 December 1999, in Lomé, Togo. The Statutes were agreed and adopted on 3 November 2000.

2. “FATF Recommendations” refer to the FATF Recommendations on money laundering and the FATF Special Recommendations on financing of terrorism. They need to implement the FATF Recommendations and the United Nations Security Council treaties and resolutions related to AML/CFT, in line with the constitutional provisions in force in each country.

Consequently, the Member States hereby agree to revise the Statutes of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa as follows:


In the context of these Statutes, the definitions below will serve as a reference: 

ADB: African Development Bank.
BOAD: West African Development Bank.
ECOWAS: Economic Community of West African States.
Committee: The Ad Hoc Ministerial Committee referred to in Article 9 of the current Statutes. 
The Authority: The Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS Member States. 
Council: The Council of Ministers of the Economic Community of West African States. 
Signatory State(s): Member States of ECOWAS and all other States who adhere to the present Statutes. 
IMF: International Monetary Fund. 
FATF: Financial Action Task Force 
GIABA: Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa. 
INTERPOL: International Criminal Police Organization. 
AML/CFT: Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Financing of Terrorism. 
WCO: World Customs Organization. 
UNODC: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. 
Executive Secretariat: The Executive Secretariat of the Economic Community of West African States (Now called ECOWAS Commission). 
Secretariat for Administration: The Secretariat for Administration stipulated in Article 7 of the current Statutes.
EU: European Union. 
WAEMU: West African Economic and Monetary Union.

a) The objectives of GIABA shall be to: 

i. Protect the national economies and the financial and banking systems of signatory States against the proceeds of crime, and combat the financing of terrorism; 
ii. Improve measures and intensify efforts to combat the laundering of proceeds from crime; and 
iii. Strengthen co-operation amongst its members.

b) GIABA shall: 

i. Combat the laundering of proceeds from crime and the financing of terrorism; 
ii. Ensure harmonized and concerted adoption of appropriate measures to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism; 
iii. Evaluate, through self-evaluation and mutual-evaluation according to the FATF procedure, progress and the efficacy of measures; 
iv. Encourage any other States to join GIABA;

c) The functions of GIABA are as follows: 

I. The Group shall do everything possible to ensure that Member States recognize, adopt and implement: a. The FATF norms including Recommendations, especially the Forty (40) Recommendations and the Nine (9) Special      Recommendations on the financing of terrorism, adopted by the FATF members; b. The FATF revised methodology and any other relevant document adopted by it; c. The Action Plan against Money Laundering, adopted by the  United Nations General Assembly in New York on 10 June 1998, the International Convention for the repression of the Financing of Terrorism of 19 December 1999 and any other relevant international instrument. 
II. The Group provides a focus for co-operative anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing efforts in the Region; 
III. The Group is a forum in which: a. Regional issues can be discussed, AML/CFT strategy developed, information exchange mechanisms elaborated and regional level research on money laundering and terroristmethods and trends initiated; b. Operational co-operation among member jurisdictions encouraged; c. Technical assistance and training is provided. 
IV. The Group facilitates the adoption and implementation by member jurisdictions of internationally accepted anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing measures (including the creation of Financial Intelligence Units); 
V. The Group enables regional and jurisdictional factors to be taken into account in the implementation of international anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing measures; 
VI. The Group encourages signatory States’ jurisdiction to develop more effective mutual legal assistance; 
VII. The Group prepares an annual report that sets out the actions that GIABA has taken to meet the objectives of the Group; 
VIII. The Group shares with the FATF, its Secretariat and Members all Mutual Evaluation Reports on the basis of reciprocity publication; 
IX. The Group adopts a publication policy of Mutual Evaluation Reports similar to that of the FATF, to ensure the broadest possible publication of its evaluation report.


The following shall be eligible for membership: a) Member States of ECOWAS. b) All other African States adhering to these Statutes. Applications for membership shall be addressed to the Executive Secretariat for approval by the Authority on the recommendation of Council.

The Member States referred to in paragraph (a) and (b) above shall: Take action to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism; Adopt the FATF Recommendations and implement them effectively; Take ownership of the Anti-Money Laundering/Combating Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Methodology adopted by the FATF in 2004 and as updated from time to time at international level; Take steps to develop, pass and implement anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing legislations and other measures based on accepted international standards; Participate in self-assessment and mutual evaluation programs based on the FATF Recommendations, using the FATF Methodology and other agreed mutual evaluation template documentation; Implement the ECOWAS decisions on AML/CFT.

i. The following shall be granted observer status within GIABA: a. Inter-governmental organizations which support the objectives and actions of GIABA and/or contribute to its financing; b. Non-African States that support the objectives and actions of GIABA and/or contribute to its financing; c. African States which have applied for observer status of GIABA; d. Central Banks of Signatory States, Regional Securities and Exchange Commissions, UEMOA, BOAD, the French Zone Anti-Laundering Liaison Committee, the “Conseil Régional de l’Epargne Publique et des Marchés Financiers”, ADB, UNODC, World Bank, IMF, WCO, INTERPOL, FATF, the COMMONWEALTH Secretariat and the EU. Any State or Organization wishing to obtain observer status within GIABA shall apply to the Chairman of the Committee. The status of observers shall: i. be granted by the Authority upon the recommendation of the Council based on a report received from the Committee.

Where a Signatory State fails to fulfill its obligations to the Group, the Authority may, on the recommendation of the Council, following the advice of the Committee impose any of the following sanctions on the said Signatory State: 
a. suspension of all forms of assistance and disbursement on on-going projects or assistance programs. 
b. non-recruitment of its citizens to international posts in the Administrative Secretariat; 
c. suspension of voting rights. Where the Signatory State persists in its default, the Authority may revoke the Membership of the said State from GIABA on the recommendation of Council based on proposals received from the Committee.

Any Signatory State wishing to withdraw from GIABA shall give one (1) year’s notice thereof in writing to the Executive Secretary who shall immediately inform the Signatory States accordingly. A copy of the notification shall be addressed to the Administrative Secretariat by the Signatory States concerned. If the notice of resignation is not withdrawn within this period, the signatory State shall cease to be a member of GIABA. The State wishing to withdraw from GIABA shall continue to fulfill its obligations during the period of notice provided for in paragraph (i) of this Article.


The organs of GIABA shall be the following: 
i. The Ad Hoc Ministerial Committee;
ii. The Administrative Secretariat;
iii. The Technical Commission.
iv. The network of National Correspondents

The Committee shall be the principal decision-making organ of GIABA;
i. Composition a) The Committee shall comprise the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Internal Affairs or Security and the Minister of Justice of each Signatory State. b) The Committee shall be chaired by the Minister whose country is the current chair of ECOWAS. The Committee shall elect annually two (2) Vice-Chairmen. In the absence of the Chairman, one of the Vice-Chairmen shall preside over the meetings of GIABA. 
ii. Functions The Committee shall: a) approve the progress report; b) recommend the annual work program for approval by the Council; c) adopt self-evaluation and mutual evaluation reports following similar procedures and processes as those of the FATF including follow-up, publication and sharing of mutual evaluations; d) recommend candidates for membership and for the grant of the Status of observer; e) propose the issuance of formal notifications and recommend, through Council, the suspension of signatory States which fail to fulfill their obligations; f) Propose amendments of the Statutes of GIABA as the need arises.
iii. Meeting, Quorum and Decisions a) The Committee shall meet at least once annually. b) The quorum for meetings of the Committee shall be half of its members present or represented. Decisions of the Committee shall be taken by a 2/3 majority vote of members present. c) Observers may be allowed to participate in the deliberations of the Committee. They may also participate in mutual evaluations unless a signatory State is opposed to their participation. However, observers shall have no voting rights.

i. Composition The Administrative Secretariat shall be composed of the Administrative Secretary (Director General), his/her Deputy and such other Staff necessary for its smooth functioning.
ii. Appointment The Administrative Secretary (Director General) and his/her Deputy and all other Staff of GIABA shall be appointed in conformity with ECOWAS Principles, Rules and Procedures governing employment of Staff. 
iii. Functions The Administrative Secretariat shall: a. Implement decisions of the Committee. It shall be assisted by the Executive Secretariat (ECOWAS Commission), if need arises; b. assist the Executive Secretariat (ECOWAS Commission) to prepare interim and annual reports which shall be submitted to the ECOWAS Authorities by the Executive Secretary (President of the ECOWAS Commission); c. implement the annual work program; d. prepare the draft budget for adoption in accordance with Article 69 of the Revised ECOWAS Treaty and implement it after its approval by the Council of Ministers; e. prepare questionnaires for self-evaluation and screen responses; f. prepare and participate in mutual evaluation missions under the supervision of the Committee; g. work together within the Executive Secretariat (ECOWAS Commission) to identify the needs of the States in terms of technical assistance and facilitate mobilization of such assistance; h. in conjunction with the Executive Secretariat (ECOWAS Commission), establish links with signatory States and other regional Groups, international organizations and third countries on issues relating to its sphere of competence; i. discharge all duties assigned to it by the Chairman of the Committee.

i. Composition a) The Technical Commission shall comprise of experts from Ministries of Finance, Internal Affairs or Security and Ministries of Justice of signatory States. b) The Coordinators of the Inter-Ministerial Drug Control Coordinating Committee of each member State shall be de jure members of the Technical Commission. It shall meet at least once a year and may meet as often as necessary. c) Meetings of the Technical Commission shall be convened by the Administrative Secretary (now Director General) who shall propose a draft agenda. d) The meetings of the Technical Commission shall be presided over by the designated expert of the member State that is the current Chairman of ECOWAS. 
ii. Functions a) The Technical Commission shall make proposals to the Committee through the Administrative Secretary (Director General) on measures to combat the laundering of proceeds from crime and the financing of terrorism. b) The Commission shall also carry out any other functions as may be assigned to it by the Committee. c) The Technical Commission shall discuss the self-assessment and mutual evaluation reports for approval by the Ad Hoc Ministerial Committee.A network of National Correspondents supports GIABA activities in each member State.


Signatory States hereby commit to taking all legal and regulatory steps and setting up all necessary structures for the implementation of recommendations of the Committee which have been approved by the Authority or the Council, particularly with regard to the establishment of Financial Intelligence Units.

Signatory States undertake to evaluate themselves on the implementation status of the measures approved by the Committee. An evaluation questionnaire shall be drawn up by the Administrative Secretariat for this purpose.

Each signatory State hereby undertakes to submit to evaluation by other signatory States, of the compliance of its internal regulations with international standards for measures to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism approved by the Committee. Evaluation procedures shall be established by the Committee.

The resources of GIABA shall be derived from: 
a) a percentage of the resources of the Community Levy as may be determined by the Council; 
b) an annual contribution made by member States which shall be calculated on the basis of coefficients determined by the Council; 
c) any voluntary contributions from signatory States and third countries, international and inter-governmental organizations or regional Central Banks that support its activities; 
d) any other sources of funds as may be approved by the Committee.

The Headquarters of GIABA shall be decided by the Authority.


i. Any signatory State may submit proposals for the amendment or review of these Statutes. 
ii. Any such proposals shall be submitted to the Executive Secretary (President of the ECOWAS Commission) who shall inform signatory States thereof not later than thirty (30) days after the receipt of such proposals. The Authority shall not consider the proposed amendments or review unless signatory States shall have been given three (3) months notice thereof.
iii. Amendments or reviews shall be adopted by the Authority on the recommendation of the Council.They shall enter into force one (1) month after their adoption.

The working languages of GIABA shall be English, French and Portuguese.

These Statutes shall enter into force on the date of signature of the Authority Decision adopting them.