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Cameroon govt says cryptocurrencies being used to fund terrorism

By , Freelance Investigative Journalist
Cameroon , 05 Feb 2021

Authorities in Cameroon believe cryptocurrencies are being used to finance acts of terrorism in the country.

According to a recently published report sourced from Cameroon’s Ministry of Finance, the National Risk Assessment for Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, based on intelligence agencies, between 2014 and 2018, at least 160 billion francs CFA was illegally circulated into the country to finance terrorism. The amount is not exhaustive as cryptocurrency operations are encrypted.

The report indicates that the funds were channeled to rebels in the restive English-speaking regions, where an armed separatist conflict is raging, as well as in the Far North region; where the Islamist militant group Boko Haram is waging an insurgency.

It added that the risk associated with cryptocurrency use arise from, among others, the lack of a legal framework on the digital currency, anonymity of users, the inability to fully trace transactions, and the decentralised nature of the platform.

Authorities have designated the risk associated with cryptocurrency as “high”.

According to the report, Bitcoin is the most used cryptocurrency in the country and there exist many local platforms for exchange as well as many networks of users.

Bitcoin is seconded by AmbaCoin, a cryptocurrency created in 2018 by Anglophone separatists to fund their war efforts. As at 5 February 2021, 852,551 Amba crypto bonds had been sold (1 AmbaCoin = $0.25).

Minister of Finance Louis Paul Motaze said the government will work with relevant stakeholders to address the situation.

Financial expert Eric Stephane Ngambi said such illicit financial flows through cryptocurrencies can weaken the economy.

The Bank of Central African States (BEAC), the sole central bank within the membership-based Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC), has yet to implement any regulation or adopt guidelines on the use of cryptocurrencies within its monetary zone.

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