Integrity Institution Recovers US$ 284,000 -FIUL Mounts Successful Fight Against Money Laundering

MONROVIA – While the people of Liberia and their government remain preoccupied with substantive transformational programs to ameliorate the impact of poverty and underdevelopment, unscrupulous forces and purloiners continue to sinisterly keep their evil claws on the nation, working around the clock to suck out the nation’s resources by hook and crook. But thank God for the new administration at the Financial Intelligence Unit of Liberia which has tightened the screws and valves on highly covert scoundrels. As THE ANALYST reports, the ever-alert dragnet of the FIUL has preyed on two economic villains, retrieving nearly $300,000 now remitted to government consolidated account.

The war of white-collar criminals continues as the Financial Intelligence Union of Liberia make progress in tracking highly sophisticated criminals.

In November 2021, a source filed complaint with the FIUL alleging wire fraud and money laundering by Korlane Investment Limited Liability Company and its corporate owners.

As supported by the FIUL Act 2012, the FIUL 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; thus, protecting alleged proceeds of crime pending the outcome of a full scaled investigation and subsequent criminal trial.

Thereafter, a full scaled 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. and opened and 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.

Further, the Investigators found that said ill-gotten funds were usually withdrawn by a foreign national named Patrick Hermann Diega Wahi who comes to Liberia to effect withdrawal under authority of Evgene Nikisuit, Korlane’s account holder.   

As a result, in early January 2022, Korlane Investments Liberia Limited Liability Company and 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 for the crimes 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 and 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 absence of the defendants was noted by the Court. Thereafter, 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.

The Presiding Judge of Criminal Court C granted the motion and ordered the proceeds of over US $234,000 confiscated and transferred in the General Revenue Account of Liberia by the FIUL. 

As mandated by the Court, the FIUL has duly transferred the said amount to the General Revenue Account.

On the other hand, FIUL has recently recovered US $ 50,000.00 from a company operating in Liberia and evading tax obligations. The matter was brought to the attention of FIUL by a source. Exercising its powers, the FIUL 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. Based on mandate from the Civil law Court for Montserrado County, the said amount has been transferred to the Government of Liberia’s general revenue account.

The FIUL commends the government of Liberia for its demonstrated will to tackle money laundering and at the same time appreciates the public confidence reposed in the FIUL. The FIUL recommits to continue to fight robustly securing Liberia’s financial space from being used by enablers and launderers.

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