less than 10% of Cameroonian microfinance organizations carry out an internal risk assessment (Minfi)

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On June 2, 2022, Louis Paul Motaze published the list of approved microfinance institutions (Emf) as of December 31, 2021. However, according to the study on the evaluation of the system for combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism ” less than 10% of Emf out of 402 approved carried out an internal assessment of their AML/CFT risks. Only 18% of Emfs have already had contact with the National Agency for Financial Investigations (Anif),” lamented Hayatou Sanda around the discussion table.

This situation is explained by the fact that “our control system has a certain number of shortcomings which must be remedied. The microfinance sector does not adhere sufficiently to the fight against money laundering because within it, there is no expertise necessary to detect illicit operations”, noted Hubert Nde Sambone, Director General of the ‘Anif.

This percentage is the result of the two evaluations carried out during the two previous years. “In 2020, we completed our first National Risk Assessment (NRA). This revealed that the risks of money laundering in Cameroon have a “high” level of risk while the national vulnerability was deemed to be “medium high”. The financing of terrorism has been assessed at a ”high” level of risk”, explained the Minfi executive.

The report relating to the second cycle of Mutual Evaluation (EM) and adopted by the Action Group against Money Laundering (Gabac) on October 21, 2021 for its part, informs that the results “confirm the National Risk Assessment and attests that the microfinance sector is the soft underbelly of the financial sector in terms of money laundering in Cameroon. It has been assessed at a ”high” risk level for money laundering and terrorist financing,” explains the head of microfinance at the Minfi.

In his speech, Hayatou Sanda recalled that Boko Haram and the Anglophone crisis facing the country, with the free movement of financial resources as a corollary, are generally fueled by “illicit” activities. Seen from this angle, “the money from illegal activities has very often been able to be injected into the normal economic circuit without the actors being worried”, he specified.

However, these meetings in Yaoundé revealed that 243 suspicious declarations were declared by Emfs after Anif between 2017 and 2019. All the more reason for the bosses of these Emfs to go to school to fight against financial crime which has “serious consequences for the security and stability of our countries as well as the integrity of the financial system”, underlined the collaborator of Louis Paul Motaze.

To put an end to money laundering and the fight against the proliferation of terrorism, Minfi officials, Gabac experts and Anif officials will cover 04 areas in the coming days. The goal is to arm owners of Emfs with the tools necessary to achieve the desired results. The facilitators will be for this purpose in Yaoundé for the regions of the Centre, South, East, Bafoussam (West and North-West), Limbe (Littoral and South-West), Garoua (Adamaoua, North and Far-North).

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