Lawmakers Support Liberia’s Quest to Fight Illicit Financial Practices -Vow to Strengthen FIU Regulatory Framework
Several high-ranking members of the 54th Legislature have expressed full support for the strengthening of Liberia’s AML/CFT regime, which seeks to fight and prevent illicit financial practices in Liberia.
As Liberia prepares for her second round of mutual evaluation early next year (2022), three ranking members of the House of Representatives, have vowed to improve Liberia’s Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Terrorist Financing (AML/CFT) regulatory framework or laws by lobbing with their legislative colleagues for speedy passage of the Preventive Measures and Proceed of Crimes Act of 2019, coupled with AML/CFT regulations that could put Liberia on par with other countries in the World.
Those unique commitments and policy statements to improve Liberia’s AML/CFT) laws were highlighted by Representatives Ben Fofana, Samuel Kogar and Kanie Weso, of the committees on Banking and Currency, National Security and Judiciary of the House of Representatives who participated in a legislative validation engagements workshop in Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County.
Making separate and strong worded commitments at the legislative validation exercise over the weekend, Representative Weso who chairs the Committee on Judiciary, elaborated that Liberia’s financial system needs to be rebranded through the enactment of workable regulatory laws by the 54th Legislature to attract credible investors and investments to the country that is yearning for improvement in all sectors.
According to the District #2 lawmaker of Gbarpolu County, the threats and vulnerabilities in Liberia’s financial sector should claim that attention of every Legislator and others who are passionate for the changing of the country’s image and general public perception of Liberia regarding the fight and prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing.
He promised to lobby with his colleagues to see the urgent need to promptly pass the revised AML/CFT Law, Preventive Measures and Proceed of Crimes Act of 2019 that could meaningfully help Liberia regain her desirable image by means of improvement in international rating about transparency and accountability.
Also Speaking at the event, Representative Samuel Kogar who is the Co-Chairman of the committee on National Security, mentioned that the 54th Legislature needs to give the Financial Intelligence Unit of Liberia (FIU) robustness to professionally regulate and prevent money laundering and terrorist financing, void of unnecessary interference and witch hunting.
The district # 5 lawmaker of Nimba County noted that the enactment of international best practice laws like AML/CFT regulations and Proceed of Crimes Act of 2019 could greatly safeguard the future of Liberia and minimize financial crimes.
He promised that the Legislature needs to take serious action to ensure that FIU organizational and regulatory framework is improved to prevent and fight unwholesome acts of unscrupulous individuals and institutions who are allegedly involved in turning illegal money into clean money by investments in other sectors.
For his part, Representative Ben Fofana, a ranking member of the committee on Banking and Currency, proposed that FIU needs to have a technological system or app that will ensure that it receives fraud or suspicious transactions alerts from financial institutions.
According to the District#4 lawmaker of Margibi County, the timely passage of the new AML/CFT and Preventive Measures of Proceed of Crimes Act of 2019 by the Legislature, could be a big boast for Liberia’s reputation and protect the country’s financial system.
He expressed optimism that the passage could help for the subsequent procurement of modern software which other countries are currently using to detect money laundering and other suspicious financial transactions.
However, FIU Director General, Edwin W. Harris, said the passage of the two legislations could robustly help Liberia to be in full technical compliance, improve structural, legal and regulatory framework; to augment Liberia’s readiness for the second round of mutual evaluation, in keeping with the Inter-governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) timeline and taking of corrective actions to address all outstanding deficiency for the second round of mutual evaluation.
According to him, the passage of the law is in conformity with international best practice and could greatly aid Liberia to be considered as a reliable country for sustainable investments.
Mr. Harris strongly pointed out the successful outcome of the legislative validation workshop that will lead to the passage of the AML/CFT law, prevention Measures and Proceed of Crimes Act of 2019 by the Legislature could buttress Liberia’s effort to seek membership with Egmont Group of FIUs.