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Access Bank fined 500k

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The Financial Intelligence Unit of Liberia has imposed a fine of five hundred thousand Liberian dollars (LRD$500,000.00) on Access Bank Liberia Limited in keeping with Section 3.2 (d)(i) regarding regulation on Suspicious Transaction Reporting for Financial Institutions that are operating in Liberia.

According to an FIU press release issued, Access Bank Liberia was found to be in breach of Section 67.5 (a) of the Financial Intelligence Unit Act of 2012 that mandates reporting entities to file Suspicious Transaction Report (STRs) within three days.

“Also, the regulation on Suspicious Transaction Report section 2.4 provides no exemption to filing STRs. It was found during an inspection of Access Bank AML/CFT compliance that Access Bank Liberia had not filed Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs), as discovered by the team and also had not filed any STR from January 2019 to the time of inspection,” the release noted.

The release further mentioned that FIU calls on all reporting entities to take their reporting obligation seriously, as it will not hesitate in providing sanctions that are proportionate and dissuasive to violations.

“Additionally, Access Bank Liberia is also admonished to take corrective action in strengthening its AML/CFT programs as recommended by the FIU and the bank Board of Directors need to increase its oversight on Access Bank’s AML/CFT program.”

However, the Financial Intelligence Unit cautions “hostile” reporting entities especially in the gaming and insurance sectors to desist from their non-compliant posture and intimidating remarks against inspectors of the FIU while performing their lawful duties.

“The FIU wants to remind such entities that their actions are not only unlawful and irresponsible, but reckless and their days of putting on a non-compliance posture is on the rope, as the FIU will go to all length in fearlessly enforcing the laws and provide the necessary administrative actions in keeping with laws,” the release said.

The release added that where necessary, the FIU shall recommend for criminal prosecution to the Ministry of Justice any violations that contravene the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime/laws in Liberia.

Meanwhile, the FIU reminds entities whose immediate goal is to contaminate the Liberian financial system for self-enrichment from the proceed of crimes should think again, as it has legal obligation to fight money laundering and terrorist financing and will not tolerate business as usual and has no interest to compromise the integrity of Liberia’s financial system.—Press release

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