By Lincoln G. Peters
Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) Director-General Mr. Edwin W. Harris says early next week the institution will mandate all banking and non-banking institutions that the position of compliance officer is non-rotational so as to make it independent.
Following the launch, on 14 July 2022 of the Compliance Officers Forum of Liberia (COF-Liberia) in Monrovia, Harris told an interview with journalists that compliance officers face a difficult temptation with management sometimes.
Mr. Harris expressed hope that the FIU Act will soon be passed into law and forwarded to the president for signature.
“The regulation coming out of that will make compliance officer’s work independent and non-rotational,” he explained.
“The FIU will issue a mandate early next week to … all banking and non-banking institutions that compliance officers’ positions are non-rotational to make them independent,’’ the FIU Director-General stated.
He detailed that the new Act will make compliance officers be removed or fired like any other person based on culpable cause.
According to Mr. Harris, if the position is not independent, management will interfere with compliance officers’ work.
He said the FIU wants to prevent this situation because compliance officers are people with integrity and it will help the FIU to get the best out of them.
He believes that the independence of compliance officers remains a major bedrock of FIU’s collective fight against money laundering.
As such, he said compliance officers should not be rotational, but independent. He suggested also that space should be given to them, saying FIU will be monitoring.
At the official launch of the Compliance Officers Forum of Liberia, its interim leadership was also inducted into office.
The grand ceremony brought together several compliance officers and financial integrity and banking institutions.
Among them were Mr. George Mensah-Asante, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Eco-Bank Liberia; and Mr. Sayed Gbalazeh, Chief Executive Officer, Activa Liberia.
The newly inducted interim leadership of the Compliance Officers Forum of Liberia has promised to ensure that the institution is taken to election.
The leadership team noted that compliance officers are there to prevent negative and suspicious things from happening.
In cases where these things happen, it urged that compliance officers should be able to detect and prevent them.–Edited by Winston W. Parley