Financial Intelligence Unit Fines Orange-Liberia

L-r: Deputy Director for Programs Bobby Harris, Executive Director Edwin Harris and Executive Assistant to the ED John Kantie

Monrovia – The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of Liberia has fined the mobile money component of Orange-Liberia GSM company for failing to file no Suspicious Transaction Report for the period of two years. 

Mr. Edwin Harris, FIU’s Executive Director, addressing a news conference this week, at his office in Paynesville, said that the imposition of the fine is a result of an exercise conducted by the FIU from April 23- 25 of  2019, which found out that the company had not reported since 2017.

“The imposition of the fine is a result of an onsite Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting of the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) compliance monitoring of Orange Liberia Mobile Money,” Mr. Harris said.

To be relieved of the fine, the FIU boss stressed that the company will need to present an official Government of Liberia Revenue receipt to its offices within 72 hours or face additional actions in keeping with the laws and authority of the Financial Intelligence Unit of Liberia. 

Orange-Liberia mobile money service was fined the amount of $337, 500 Liberian dollars.

Moreover, the FIU boss revealed that in pursuant section 4.1 of both the Suspicious Transactions Reporting and Currency Transactions Reporting regulations of 2016 and section 67.3 (n) of the FIU act of 2013, the Financial Intelligence Unit will issue a new circular amending sections 3.2.1 of both Suspicious Transactions Reporting and Currency Transactions Reporting regulations to make sanction   “proportionate and dissuasive.”

“The current sanction regime creates incentives for wrongdoing and will no longer be tolerated after this administrative fine with Orange Liberia Mobile Money,” said Harris.

The FIU boss the unit will shortly be instituting whistleblower hotline numbers to the public so that community members can participate in reporting incidents of money laundering, properties related to the proceeds of crimes and other predicate offenses.

“Whistleblowers are encouraged to come forth with information to assist the workings of the FIU and will receive in compensation percentages of whatever amounts recovered from information given to the FIU. The FIU in keeping with the law will protect the whistleblowers’ identities under the mandate of confidentiality,” he said.

The FIU is also calling on all reporting entities in furtherance to its zero-tolerance stance on non-compliance, to take their Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Terrorist Financing obligations seriously. 

Meanwhile Orange Liberia Mobile Money component has been given the period of 90 days to take corrective actions to avoid such occurrence that led to the imposition of the fine. 

The Financial Intelligence Unit was enacted into law in 2012 by the National Legislature as the national agency responsible for receiving, requesting, conducting preliminary investigations, analyzing and disseminating information to competent authority concerning suspected proceeds of crime and terrorist property. The Unit is also responsible to investigate and track illegal financial transactions, money laundering and other illicit financial flows.