Liberia’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) says it has recovered and transferred over US$284,000 to the General Revenue Account of Liberia.
In a release issued Wednesday, 13 July 2022, FIU said it recovered the amount from a wire fraud and money laundering company identified as Korlane Investment Limited Liability Company and its corporate owners.
The release under the signature of FIU Director-General Mr. Edwin W. Harris said in November 2021, a source filed a complaint with the FIU alleging wire fraud and money laundering.
The source had allegedly accused Korlane Investment Limited Liability Company and its corporate owners of the wire fraud and money laundering.
In keeping with the FIUL Act 2012, the agency said it commenced analysis and preliminary investigation into the allegations reported.
“Based on reasonable suspicion of Money Laundering reinforced by findings of preliminary investigations, a freezing order was placed on all the company’s accounts in Liberia,” FIU said.
It explained that the action was aimed at protecting alleged proceeds of crime pending the outcome of a full-scale investigation and subsequent criminal trial.
FIU reported that a full-scale investigation into the allegation was conducted by Law Enforcement Authorities.
“The Investigators found that Korlane Investment Limited Liability Company operated a shell company in Liberia without office, staff, etc,” said the FIU.
It noted that the company used its accounts in Liberia to launder, conceal and direct stolen funds generated through unusual transactions from wire fraud- a predicate crime of money laundering.
It detailed that the investigators found that ill-gotten funds were usually withdrawn by a foreign national named Patrick Hermann Diega Wahi who came to Liberia to effect withdrawal under authority of Evgene Nikisuit, Korlane’s account holder.
In early January 2022, FIU said Korlane Investments Liberia Limited Liability Company and its corporate owners including Patrick Hermann Diega Wahi, Evgene Nikisuit, and others to be identified were indicted by the Grand Jury for Montserrado County.
The indictment carries charges of money laundering, wire fraud, theft of property, and criminal conspiracy.
‘’Upon obtaining a writ of arrest by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Patrick Hermann Diega Wahi who had come to Liberia to withdraw the said proceeds- evaded being arrested,” the release said.
It continued that Patrick absconded from the bailiwicks of the Republic of Liberia.
During the May Term of Court, the case was called for trial based on notice of assignment, the release disclosed.
The absence of the defendants was noted by the Court, and a motion to confiscate the proceeds was filed consistent with the Provisional Remedies Proceeds of Crimes Act 2013.
“The motion was assigned for hearing and argued,’’ FIU explained.
The statement further indicates that after the intensive legal argument, the Presiding Judge of Criminal Court “C” granted the motion and ordered the proceeds of over US $234,000 confiscated.
The court ordered it transferred to the General Revenue Account of Liberia by the FIU.
As mandated by the Court, the FIU says it has duly transferred the money to the General Revenue Account.
On the other hand, FIU says it has recently recovered US$ 50,000.00 from a company operating in Liberia and evading tax obligations.
It said the matter was brought to its attention by a source. Exercising its powers, the FIU jointly with the MoJ restricted the corporate accounts of the company.
“In collaboration with the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), the said amount was recovered representing tax liabilities of the Company,” the release disclosed.
Based on a mandate from the Civil law Court for Montserrado County, FIU said the amount has been transferred to the Government of Liberia’s General Revenue Account.
The Director-General of FIU has commended the Government of Liberia for its demonstrated will to tackle money laundering.
He has also appreciated the public confidence reposed in the FIU, adding that the institution remains committed to continuing a robust fight to secure Liberia’s financial space from being used by enablers and launderers.–Press release