By Lincoln G. Peters
The Financial Intelligence Unit of Liberia (FIU) will today, 22 June 2022 officially launch its National Strategy and Action Plan on anti-money laundering and terrorist financing.
It seeks to mitigate the risks identified in the National Risk Assessment (NRA) 2019 report to make Liberia free of terrorist financing and money laundering to enhance investment and development.
The five years National Strategy and Action plan on anti-money laundering and terrorist financing will be held at a local hotel in Monrovia and is expected to bring together governments and non-governmental organizations.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with this paper Tuesday, 21 June 2022, FIU Director-General Edwin Harris said the objective of the NRA is to understand and determine the level of vulnerability of the economic and financial sectors to money laundering (ML) and terrorist financing (TF).
He said it’s intended to also determine and understand the weakness in the legal framework to help formulate an inform a robust regulatory development.
According to him, the launch of the National Action Plan will also address the objective of the NAR which seeks to review the criminal and administrative justice system and existing preventive systems.
“The assessment identified significant deficiencies in the country’s Anti-money Laundering (AML/CFT) regime and to address those gaps, intervention will concentrate on the following major areas of work,” he noted.
The FIU boss named the areas of work as enhancing the AML/CFT legal and regulatory framework, strengthening risk-based supervision and coordination, sustaining outreach and awareness-raising, monitoring existing, new, and emerging risks and strengthening law enforcement efforts.
He also cited intelligence capability, strengthening prosecution and judicial capability,.
The National Risk Assessment on Money laundering and terrorist financing document recommended for the creation of specific training for LEAs (law enforcement agencies) in the various specialized areas of financial crime investigation, and capacity building of financial crime investigators.
It also called for capacity building for prosecutors and LEAs, and the government should allocate adequate funding to support the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.
Harris furthered that the document also recommends that inter-agency collaboration should be encouraged and enhanced, and there should be effective implementation of Asset Forfeiture Laws and regulations.
Mr. Harris indicated that the national plan will also implement the recommendation which calls for the government taking concrete and effective steps to improve the system in Liberia.