The Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding (CEMESP), with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, OSIWA, has kicked off a project entitled: Deepening Implementation of Anti Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Laws in Liberia.
The project fits within two thematic areas of both CEMESP and its donor namely, economic governance and anti-corruption.
Amidst dominant perception about Liberia that it has the tendency to pass laws but find them difficult to enforce, CEMESP is poised to make a difference relative to terrorist financing and money laundering. The two interlinked issues have grave consequences on the economy and pose threat to national stability.
CEMESP’s Executive Director Malcolm Joseph says: “We have over the years been concerned about incidences of money laundering and terrorist financing, which was why we build network with the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA).”
Mr. Joseph furthered that as a first step, the project is now concluding a comparative study of legal frameworks of Anti-Money Laundering legislations and financial intelligent units of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ghana to make the connection between money laundering, terrorist financing and other offences. This is being done with a view to building synergy among relevant actors to checkmate a threat in the sub region.
The product of the comparative analysis will be shared among stakeholders with recommendation areas on what state and non-state actors can do to make the two laws have desired impact.
Where gaps are identified in these laws, there will be reform entry points for stakeholders that transcend the Central Bank of Liberia, the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, the Liberia National Police and Human Trafficking Taskforce, among others.
GIABA will work with CEMESP and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to roll out training of CSOs and media operatives. Following the training sessions under this project, monitors are going to be deployed across the country to use key benchmarks for six months during the project cycle.
Through this effort, CEMESP hopes to situate best practice approach on how to deal with these issues, by drawing out lessons on those things that have worked well in other countries that could be adapted in Liberia to enhance impact.
The product of this effort will form the basis of pursuing policy advocacy and awareness campaign that assures country ownership of the enforcement of the laws, as it relates to detecting, preventing and prosecuting offences that fall under the relevant legislations.
It is hoped that the Financial Intelligence Unit will benefit immensely from this project monitoring updates that CEMESP, will collate and routinely share.