The increased rate of terrorism in the world in the 21st century has not only threatened the world but shaken it. The terrorist attacks have continued to cause untold suffering to innocent people besides destabilizing legitimately elected governments. Economic growth and development in a country thrives, and blossoms in a very peaceful environment.
The United States of America has had the worst experience involving the terrorist attacks. The U.S Marine Corps were bombed in 1983 by a suicide bomber who rammed an explosive laded truck in the barracks. The prominent organizations in the world that runs the terrorism activities include Al-Qaida, Al-jihad, Al-umma and Harrakat. The most notable is the al-Qaida movement. These organizations need financial resources to execute criminal activities. They work with informal value transfer system (IVTS). This network runs alternative banking services outside the banking environment.
The Al-Qaida has been using IVTS to run terrorism in countries like India, Kenya, Tanzania, and United States of America. In most cases, money launders have been pursued and impounded by powerful security units like Department of Homeland Security. During the early stages of their arrest, the culprits usually express the desire to cooperate with the United States of America but some law enforcement officers in the countries where these (IVTS) operates are corrupt and, therefore, they may not assist, (Madinger 2006:23-25). The unreliability of local law enforcement officers, and continued threats of terrorist attacks prompted the U.S government to work with ,the international community to curb criminal usage of Informal Value transfer service by putting in place necessary measures to fight money laundering internationally. There are three crucial statutes in the United States that are used to fight money laundering namely: The Bank Secrecy Act of 1970, the Money Laundering Control Act of 1986, and the USA Patriotic Act of 2001.
The Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 requires that all banks help the U.S. government agencies to unravel and stop illegal money transfer. The act further demands all the institutions that deal with banking services, to have updated financial records involving purchases of negotiable tools and reports of negotiable tools transaction amounting to $10,000 0r more. Besides they should report any suspicious action that may amount to money laundering, tax evasion or any other criminal activity. The Suspicious Act Report should be filled in cases involving cash transactions where the customer tries to avoid Banking Secrecy Act guidelines. The customer should not be informed that the SAR is being filled. The financial institutions that contravene the provision of this statute risk facing severe penalties including extremely high fines alongside long life imprisonment if found guilty. (Stephen L, 2003:75-80)
The 1986 Money Laundering Control Act (MLCA) criminalizes money laundering emanating from specified illegal activity. The basic intention of the congress was to criminalize the intent to hide the existence of money laundering and use of income illegally by portraying that income to appear as though legally acceptable. The MLCA further aimed at stopping the flow of illegal profits back to the criminal gangs, where they are in need of financial resources, to expand their criminal activities.
The USA Patriot Act was passed in 2001. It is an off shoot of September 11 terrorist attacks. It is intended to oversee stop, detect and prosecute international money launders financial aiders to terrorism. The provisions of chapter basically deal with strengthening banking rules against illicit money transportation. The statute further expands communication between the law enforcement agents and the banks. The final clause outlines severe penalty on anybody found guilty of involving in currency smuggling and counterfeiting of foreign currency.
Asset forfeiture is possibly the most effective way to fight money laundering and terrorist financing. The main objective is the government to snatch assets from money launderers and other criminals. All the nations that take part in this process with the U.S they share the proceeds from this enterprise. So far $228 has been shared to thirty five countries that assisted the U.S in asset forfeiture. Through asset sharing international forfeiture cooperation has been enhanced in disregard of the country enforcing the policy.
The war against terrorism and money laundering cannot be fought by the U.S government. It’s, therefore, important to have international cooperation against the pandemic. Although, there are disparities in legal and financial systems around the world it should not be a limitation. The international cooperation has so far succeeded in preventing some criminal offences for example combating drug trafficking.
The terrorist movements have their networks all over the world. They form organizations under different names depending on where they are found. The most known is the Al-Qaida movement of Afghanistan. Besides al-Qaida, there are many other movements in the world namely: Armed Islamic Group (GIA) in Algeria, Khmer Rouge/The Party of Democratic Kampuchea in Colombia, Al-Jihad a.k.a. in Egypt Islamic Jihad, Jihad Group and Islamic Jihad in Georgia. (Robert Taylor 2002:200-230) Terrorist organization require a lot of money to organize, recruit equip members. Terrorist financiers carry out their duties so easily in countries with mechanisms that enable them to hide their efforts without difficult. The funds that support terrorist activities may come from illegal sources, fake goods, contraband cigarettes and illegal drugs and substances.
The war against money laundering and terrorism is Avery difficult one. Therefore, there is no country in the world that can fight terrorism alone.The international community should supplement the efforts being done by the U.s in fighting terrorism because it’s only through, cooperation that a complex network of terrorism can be suppressed. The international community should not condone any action or behavior related to money laundering and terrorism because terrorism is a threat to economic development due to uncertainties posed by regular attack threats.
1. John Madinger (2006): A guide for criminal investigators. Publisher Aspen.
2. Stephen Levy (2003): Federal money laundering regulation: banking corporate and securities compliance. Publisher Aspen.
3. Robert Taylor (2002), The history of terrorism. Lucent Books.