Monrovia — The Financial Intelligence Unit of Liberia (FIU) and other stakeholders have officially launched a workable National Strategy and Action Plan on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT). The plan which seeks to protect Liberia's financial system and boost its economy will be in effect from 2022 to 2025.
Launching the Action Plan on Wednesday on behalf of Justice Minister Cllr. Frank Musa Dean, the Deputy Minister for Codification at the Ministry of Justice, Cllr. Nyenati Tuan said the launch of the plan is the result of an evaluation assessment that was carried on Liberia by the Intergovernmental Agency on Money laundering and Terrorist Financing.
The outcome of the assessment, he said, shows that the laws and regulations on money laundering and the likes were weak; hence the need to amend the laws and regulations was imperative and necessary to live up to present day realities and to be on par with other nations within the sub region.
He called on all sector ministries and agency to work for the successful implementation.
"In this regard, the Ministry of Justice, as Interim chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee craves the active participation and financial contribution of all stakeholders, partners, and international organization to make this second round of Mutual Evaluation Assessment a success," he said.
Continuing, he said: "Let it be made unequivocally clear that the Minister of Justice as Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee is prepared and willing to work with those in the AML/CFT chain under the supervision of the Inter-Ministerial Committee to mitigate the risks identified in the National Risk Assessment in keeping with the Financial Action Taskforce (FATF) recommendation one."
He then implored the Government through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to make available the needed funds for the implementation of the exercise.
Speaking earlier, the FIU Liberia Director General, Edwin W. Harris stated that the strategy and action plan has been prepared to address challenges of predicable offenses; ranging from bribery, corruption and other illicit practices that are posing severe threats to Liberia's financial system.
Director Harris noted that the implementation of the national strategy and action plan requires collaboration of all stakeholders in the public and private sectors in Liberia who have national obligation to safeguard the country's financial system from waste and abuse.
The FIU boss mentioned that the effective enforcement of the present AML/CFT national strategy could meaningfully help Liberia scores colorful rating in the planned second round of mutual evaluation scheduled for September of this year which will be conducted by assessors from the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA).
He made a renewed call on all stakeholders to fully participate in the upcoming planned second mutual evaluation to protect and promote Liberia's image; adding that the country will be evaluated by GIABA mainly on technical compliance and other issues.
The event was attended by major stakeholders of the financial sector including representatives of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.
Also speaking at the event, Atty. Decontee King-Sackie, Deputy Commissioner for Technical Affairs of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) commended FIU for implementing the signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which seeks to allow the two integrity entities share useful information for the benefit of the Liberian society and her people.
The exchange of information between FIU and LRA, Atty. King-Sakie added, has helped the LRA to address and prevent tax invasion, which is one of the grave offenses captured in the National Risk Assessment Report (NRA).
She said that LRA appreciates the collaboration with the FIU because; adding the LRA is one of the direct beneficiaries of FIU initiatives and intelligence, which are greatly helping to increase revenue generation for Liberia.
For his part, Dr. Musa Dukuly, Deputy Governor for Economic Policy at the CBL stated that the effective implementation of the National Strategy and Action Plan by all stakeholders could help Liberia to be an attractive money remittance country, especially when compliance is prioritized by everyone.
According to him, CBL is prepared to provide support to the FIU and other stakeholders to enhance the implementation of the National Strategy and Action Plan.
Also speaking, the Deputy Minister for Economic Cooperation at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Augustine Flomo, pledged the Ministry's support to the effort in making Liberia a fraud free financial environment that fights and prevents illicit financial practices.
He called for robust implementation of the National Action Plan by the FIU and other stakeholders without any compromise.