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That terrorism and money laundering and all other forms of illicit businesses go hand in hand is a well known fact. Basically, money laundering refers to the practice of engaging in financial activities and transactions by concealing identity, the source of the financial resources and the destination of the gains realized from such financial transactions. Given the clandestine nature of terrorism, the mysterious manner in which terrorist onslaughts and activism is orchestrated, and the vast amount of wealth that needs the strategizing and logistics of terrorist activities, terrorism has always been seen to go hand in hand with money laundering. The gravity of this standpoint is always seen clearly when the UK law on money laundering is considered. The British law on money laundering defines it as involving in an action with any form of property, and this property being wholly ort partly proceeds of a crime. The crime masks the fact that the property is an accrual of this crime, or the beneficial ownership of the given property.   Thus, money gained this way is always referred to as dirty money, while those that are obtained through legally fit means are called ‘clean money.’

As a matter of fact, it is true that the September 11th plane hijackers’ box cutting knives had been bought using US dollars. These dollars had been handed down to criminals by a teller working in a US bank. These dollars had either originated from the US or got wired back to a US bank from overseas. Another example is BoNY, a major international bank that maintains correspondence with the Central Bank of Afghanistan. The Central Bank of Afghanistan is also a commercial bank and has multiple branches diffused throughout Afghanistan. It is a fact that BoNY also has extensions in Lebanon and other regions that are known to be a haven for terrorists. As a matter of fact, BoNY is known to have quietly financially supported several companies in Qatar, Pakistan, Lebanon, UAE, Jordan and Bahrain, through the use of the depository banking receipts programs (Schott).

Similarly, that the affairs of BoNY with these in institutions in the Middle East is murky and clandestine is well seen in the manner in which BoNY suspiciously manages to deal with the paperless financial system (as seen in the case of Afghanistan), and still manage to ensure that its financial relations with Afghanistan is still profitable. The crux of the matter is that by not adhering to a documented system, the BoNY is not able to advice the law enforcement officials on any way in which “Muslim banking” can be investigated.

In the same wavelength, Lilley points out that it remains a fact that the entire Ummah (Muslim world) does not accept interest or any lending based on usury. To this effect, it is given that all the interest that Muslim clients are entitled to, are not claimed by the same. This has usually made banking and financial institutions in the Muslim and Arabic world to higher surplus capital (since the banks are not made to pay their clients, accrued interested). Nevertheless, neither has any banking institution in the Muslim or Arabic world disclosed the manner in which it dispenses or accounts for the interests, nor are there legal or legislative structures to make the banks accountable. Political economists have always maintained that it is the surplus emanating from accrued interests that keep fuelling the terrorist sector.

In the book, Countering the Financing of Terrorism The fact that countries that harbor terrorist outfits are also the ones known to rank high in money laundering is also a tale tale sign of the affiliation between terrorism and money laundering. In an attempt to measure the GDP of countries with money laundering problems, there is always an inconsistency between the relatively high GDP and the rate of development and the growth of infrastructure on the ground. A country that exemplifies this scenario is Nigeria. Europe’s largest economy is Germany; a country that is ranked fifth in the world’s economy having a GDP of 2.9 trillion US dollars. Interestingly, it is also true that the annual GDP for Nigeria is relatively high, considering that Nigeria is a Less Developed Economy in Africa.  

Nigeria’s GDP stands at 315 billion US dollars. The consistency in Germany’s high GDP and its infrastructure and quality of life therein underscores the high degree of the presence and force of the law on one hand. On the other hand, Nigeria’s relatively high GDP does not only mismatch its development as far as the infrastructure and standard of living are concerned. Given the high rate of corruption in Nigeria, it is a fact that the degree (not just the presence) of money laundering is appalling.


In order to curtail money laundering, it is important to give attention to and to sponsor critical bills such as the 2006 Anti Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing Act 2005 (AML/ CTF Act). It is also important that developed countries that have crafted, passed and ratified anti-money laundering bills encourage LDCs to pass bills of similar nature so as to clip the wings of terrorism.


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