MONROVIA – The Financial Intelligence Unit of Liberia (FIUL) has announced that the Inter-governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) has begun the Second Round Mutual Evaluation/Peer Review of Liberia’s AML/CFT/PF Regime.
GIABA is an institution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) responsible for facilitating the adoption and implementation of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Financing of Terrorism (CFT) in West Africa with headquarters in Dakar, Senegal.
It is also a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-Styled Regional Body (FSRB) working with its member States to ensure compliance with international AML/CFT standards.
Announcing the Second Round Mutual Evaluation, the Officer-In Charge of the FIUL Emmanuel Togar Gee Sr., said the country’s AML/CFT/PF regime is being assessed for compliance level with FATF forty (40) standards and other international best practice.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog set up by the G-7 nations. The inter-governmental body sets international standards that aimed to prevent these illegal activities and the harm they cause to society.
The 40 Recommendations provide a complete set of counter-measures against money laundering covering the criminal justice system and law enforcement, the financial system and its regulation, and international co-operation.
The Mutual Evaluation (ME) is a peer review process during which assessed country is required to demonstrate technical compliance and effectiveness with FATF and other international AML/CFT/P standards.
Mr. Gee noted that the technical compliance component assesses whether the necessary laws, regulations or other required measures are in force and effect, and whether the supporting AML/CFT/PF institutional framework is in place; while, the effectiveness component assesses whether the AML/CFT/PF system is working, and the extent to which the country is achieving set of 11 immediate outcomes.
According to him, currently, a desk-based review of Liberia’s AML/CFT & PF laws and regulations is ongoing by GIABA Assessors. This review, he added, is followed by onsite visit by GIABA Assessors which is scheduled between the 5th – 16th, September 2022 in Monrovia.
“During the onsite visit, the GIABA Assessors are expected to meet with all relevant stakeholders together and or separately to ascertain the application and effectiveness (implementations) of Liberia’s AML/CFT/PF laws viz-a-viz FATF standards,” he added.
He furthered that the FIUL appreciates the strong political will demonstrated by the Government of Liberia under the leadership of President Weah on the enactment of the Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA) Act, the Anti-Money Laundering, Terrorists Financing, Preventive Measure, Proceed of Crimes Act, the Whistle Blower and Witness Protection Act, and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) Act, among others.
These legislative enactments, he added, are milestone achievements and a statement that money laundering and its predicate offences including corruption, terrorists financing and proliferation financing are not tolerated in Liberia; thereby, in compliance with the technical criteria of FATF standards and very relevant to the ongoing mutual evaluation process of Liberia.
The FIUL OIC, flanked by his top officials lauded the National AML/CFT/PF Inter-Ministerial Committee of Liberia under the chairmanship of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Republic of Liberia, Cllr. Frank Musa Dean for its guidance, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) as Co-Chair and the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) member for their continued support to the AML/CFT/PF Regime of Liberia.
On behalf of the FIUL, he encouraged the technical working group of the mutual evaluation process to continue achieving the objectives of the process; adding that the FIUL highly anticipates enhanced coordination, cooperation and participation from the IMC and all stakeholders of the AML/CFT/PF regime of Liberia including bank and nonbank financial institutions; competent authorities and law enforcement agencies; Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions including the lawyers, accountants, dealers in precious metals & stones and the public at large to enable Liberia gets impressive ratings for this Second Round of Mutual Evaluation.
The FIUL officials are upbeat for Liberia to get a good rating as it has made significant achievements since the first Evaluation. Some of the achievements includes the enactment of the Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA) Act, the Anti-Money Laundering, Terrorists Financing, Preventive Measure, Proceed of Crimes Act, the Whistle Blower and Witness Protection Act, and the new Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) Act which gives the LACC full prosecution powers, among others.