Liberia: Financial Intelligence Unit Fires Two Staff For Alleged Tipping Off, Stealing Classified Information

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Monrovia – The Financial Intelligence Unit of Liberia (FIU) has dismissed two of its staff, Cooper Leamah and Amos Goba for allegedly giving tip off and stealing classified information for personal gains.

Their alleged actions are in violation of section 67.13 of the FIU Act of 2012 and section 6.7.6 of the Human Resources Hand Book of the FIU, the Code of Conduct and Statement of Confidentiality, the FIU said in a statement released on Monday.

“Based on this blatant violation for personal gains and reputational risk to the FIU, the FIU in keeping with section 67.13 of the Financial Intelligence Unit Act of 2012, will send a referral to the Ministry of Justice since the violation hinges on a second-degree felony. The general public is advised not to do business in the name of the FIU with the two dismissed staff,” the FIU stated in the statement.

When contacted, FrontPage was unable to reach both dismissed staff as their phones did not ring.

Leamah’s Alleged Transgression

According to the FIU, Cooper Leamah was the head of analysis at the institution, and in his capacity, gave tip off to a suspect under investigation for suspicious money transaction. His alleged action, the FIU stated, destroyed the evidence and rendered the investigation meaningless.

His action blatantly violates the code of conduct to which he signed on. 

Excerpt: “His action of willful blindness has not only undermined the investigation since, but has rendered the entire investigation meaningless, as evidences were tempered with and in some instances not seen.”

Continuing, the FIU said “Compliance officer at the concerned institution clearly stated that Cooper Leamah undermined the investigation by his inaction. When Mr. Leamah managed the Suspicious Transactions Reports (STRs), it was observed that he intentionally deleted two STRs filed by a local bank in favor of personal gains even after the local bank reached out to him to follow up and he responded to the bank that you have filed and you have nothing with it.”

On the other hand, the FIU said Amos Goba was seen illegally taking sensitive information from the institution for personal gains. He was also caught conducting investigations on individuals for personal gains when those investigation were never sanctioned by the office of the Director or Head of Legal and Analysis, it added.

It accused Goba of using his connection to conduct illegal investigations and reporting to people outside of the FIU; actions the FIU said were intended to soil the image and character of reputable individuals in society.

Further in the statement, the FIU revealed that after Mr. Goba was discovered, the Director of the FIU Edwin W. Harris, took some measures to prevent unauthorized information from leaking out of the system by disabling USB port on every computer within the unit including computer assigned to Mr. Goba.

“With the control put in place by the Director to protect the integrity of the information at the FIU, Mr. Goba openly and angrily insulted the Director in the presence of staff for putting in control that prevents Goba and any other staff from stealing classified information for personal gains.” 

It added: “In keeping with the powers of the Director, Goba was informed that he will be transferred from the Analysis’s department since he was compromised with huge potential of reputational risk to the FIU. Mr. Goba immediately when on a blackmail spree after hearing about his removal where he put personal gains over ethics, professionalism and the laws governing his employment at the FIU. In violation of section 67. 13 and the code of conduct of the FIU, Goba willfully discussed an STR worked on both internally and externally with the intend to blackmail the Director from removing him from the Unit for doing what is unlawful   thus, bringing reputational risk to the institution.”

The FIU is the agency of the Liberian Government responsible for receiving, requesting, conducting preliminary investigations, analyzing and disseminating information to competent authorities concerning suspected proceeds of crime and terrorist property.

Last week, the FIU launched its National Strategy and Action Plan on anti-money laundering and terrorist financing. The National Strategy and Action Plan seeks to mitigate the risks identified in the National Risk Assessment (NRA) 2019 report to make Liberia free of terrorist financing and money laundering to enhance investment and development.

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