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FIU threatens fines and revocation of operational licenses

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By Lincoln G. Peters

The Director-General of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of Liberia, Mr. Edwin Harris has threatened to hold accountable through fines, sanctions, suspension, and revocation of the operational licenses of Designated Non-financial Business and Professionals (DNFBPs) and insurance companies for constantly being non-compliant with FIU’s law.

“The Financial Intelligence Unit of Liberia has noticed with disdain that some supervisory bodies are serving as enablers of non-compliant by these listed sectors,” said Mr. Harris while addressing the Edward Wilmot Blyden Forum organized by the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) Friday, 5 November 2021 on Money Laundering and Terrorists Financing.

He said FIU has noticed that some insurance companies operating in Liberia over the last eight years have refused to comply in filing currency transaction reports and suspicious transaction reports to the FIU.

He denounced such behavior as a high risk to the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.

Mr. Harris cautioned that the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing should not be a personality contest, but a concerted effort in making Liberia safe for the protection of the country’s image.

The FIU boss assured Designated Non-Financial Business and Professionals that going forward they will be held accountable.

He said Liberia will have a risk assessment report to be used as a guide, adding that the assessment is now helping them to formulate an anti-money laundering strategy, policy, and action that will be used over the next three years to mitigate the risk identified.

Mr. Harris continued that the assessment will allow policymakers to put resources in the area that are critical in preventing money laundering, adding that there has not been a single money laundering case put out for prosecution here.

He stressed the need for judges and members of the judicial branch of government to have adequate knowledge on the concept of money laundering and terrorist financing, something he believes will help the country’s prosecution arm.

He said the Liberia Antic Corruption Commission (LACC), Liberia National Police (LNP), and Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency (LDEA) also need additional skills and knowledge in both Money Laundering and Terrorists Financing Investigation because these are things that the assessment highlights.

He indicated that major laws to strengthen Liberia’s legal framework are currently before the Legislature for passage. He said they include the bills for Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorists Financing and Preventive Measure and Provisional Remedy for Proceed of Crimes Act of 2019 and the Financial Intelligence Agency Act of 2019 to make the institution an agency.

“We are also on the amendment to the Penal Code to make market manipulation a crime and amendment to the Penal Code to make inside trading a crime,” he added.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/us-envoy-wants-adequate-financial-support-for-liberia-fiu/—Edited by Winston W. Parley

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