The Financial Intelligence Units of Liberia and neighboring Sierra Leone are presently brainstorming on workable measures about fighting trade based money laundering, the movement of cash along the borders of the two Mano River Union (MRU) countries , sharing intelligence and expertise in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.
According to the Director General of Liberia Financial Intelligence Unit, Edwin W. Harris, the Liberian delegation working-visit to Freetown, Sierra Leone is intended for preparation for Liberia second round of Mutual Evaluation by the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money in West Africa (GIABA).
A press release quoted him as saying that their visit to Sierra Leone is on the basis of sharing experiences and learning lessons from the Sierra Leonean FIU and other competent authorities in that neighboring country who just completed their second round of mutual evaluations with a moderate rating.
“The last Mutual Evaluations of Liberia were conducted in 2010 with a poor rating that placed Liberia on an Expedited Reporting status which resulted into the act of legislations for the establishment of the FIU in 2012 and several legal frameworks for preventing money laundering and combating terrorist financing in Liberia,” the release said
The FIU Director General further mentioned that the weeklong visit would provide insight for the stakeholders in Liberia Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Terrorist Financing regime.
“In the same vein, the Financial Intelligence Unit of Liberia and its Sierra Leonean counterpart will explore opportunities in fighting trade based money laundering, the movement of cash along the border with Liberia and Sierra Leone, sharing intelligence and expertise in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing,” he pointed out.
The press release also stated that the working visit to Sierra Leone has representatives from the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) and the Liberia National Police (LNP).
However, the FIU also announces that the National Risk Assessment Draft report will be validated on the 29th-30th of April 2021, during a validation workshop jointly with GIABA and the FIU.
“The validated and subsequent Published National Risk Assessment will be a key tool in the second round of mutual evaluation of Liberia,” the release furthered
The release continues: “the validation will bring key stakeholders in Liberia Anti Money Laundering (AML) regime, partners and the GIABA Secretariat together for the final stage before the publication on April 30th of 2021”.
“An action plan mitigating the identified risks will be presented to stakeholders and partners for implementation,” the release added.
Meanwhile, the African Development Bank through the Project Management Unit\IPFRP at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning provided funds to facilitate the weeklong working visit being participated in by Mr. Harris, and other stakeholders.