Liberia: Access Bank Fined L$500K Over Suspicious Transaction Reporting for Financial Institutions

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MONROVIA – The Financial Intelligence Unit of Liberia (FIU) has fined Access Bank Liberia Limited LRD$500,000.00 in keeping with the regulation on Suspicious Transaction Reporting for Financial Institutions section 3.2.(d)(i).

Access Bank Liberia was found to be in breach of section 67.5 (a) of the Financial Intelligence Unit Act of 2012 that mandates reporting entities to file Suspicious Transaction Report (STRs) within three days. Also, the regulation on Suspicious Transaction Report section 2.4 provides no exemption to filing STRs. It was found during an inspection of Access Bank AML/CFT compliance that Access Bank Liberia had not file Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) as discovered by the team and also had not file any STR from January 2019 to the time of inspection.

The FIU calls on all reporting entities to take their reporting obligation seriously as the FIU will not hesitate in providing sanctions that are proportionate and dissuasive to violations. Additionally, Access Bank Liberia is also admonished to take remedials action in strengthening its AML/CFT programs as recommended by the FIU and call on the Board of Directors to increase its oversight on the Bank’s AML/CFT program.

The Financial Intelligence Units also uses this medium to call on “hostile” reporting entities especially in the gaming and Insurance sectors to desist from actions where they are refusing to come under compliance and creating a non-compliant posture with intimidatory remarks to inspectors of the FIU while carrying out their lawful duties.

The FIU wants to remind such entities that their actions are not only unlawful and irresponsible but reckless and their days of putting on a non-compliance posture is on the rope as the FIU will go to all length in fearlessly enforcing the laws and provide the necessary administrative actions in keeping with laws. Where necessary, the FIU shall recommend for criminal prosecution to the Ministry of Justice any violations that contravene the AML/CFT regime in Liberia. The FIU wants to remind entities whose immediate goal is to contaminate the Liberian financial system for self-enrichment from the proceed of crimes should think again as the FIU will not tolerate business as usual.

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