Liberia: Financial Intelligence Unit’s Boss Vows to Punish Insurance Companies for Refusal to Comply with the Institution’s Regulations

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MONROVIA – The Director General of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Edwin W. Harris has threatened to sanction and revoked the operating licenses of insurance companies for their alleged refusal to comply with the FIU mandate in filing their currency transaction report and suspicious transaction report.

Speaking when he served as a panelist at the prestigious Edward Wilmot Blyden Forum organized by the Press Union (PUL), Mr. Harris said, with no reliance on any existing law, the insurance companies have failed to live up to their reporting obligations.

“Insurance companies operating in Liberia for the last eight years, have refused without any basic or reliance in the law to comply regarding filing Currency Transaction Report and Suspicious Transaction Report to the FIU,” he said.

“They will be fined, sanctioned, designated and recommended to supervisory body for suspension and revocation of their operating licenses.”

He called on every institution and individual in the Insurance and other sectors to adhere to mandatory compliance against illicit financial practices to protect and uphold the reputational image of Liberia that is yearning for sustainable investments.

In his presentation, Mr. Harris elaborated that the National Assessment Report (NRA) that was released recently, is meaningfully helping Liberia to formulate its anti- Money Laundering strategy, policy and action plan that could be used for the next three years in mitigating various risks, which have been identified in the insurance and other key sectors.

According to him, the NRA report is significant because, it allows policy makers put resources in areas that are critical in preventing money laundering and the promotion for the fair prosecution of entities in the insurance and other viable sectors that are allegedly refusing to fight money laundering, terrorist financing and other financial crimes that are reportedly happening.

“Judges and members of the Judiciary need to be knowledgeable to help enhance the concept of money laundering and terrorist financing, coupled with scrutinizing alleged illicit financial crime cases,” he proposed.

Mr. Harris pointed out that institutional weaknesses and risks associated with the insurance sector, and Designated Non- Financial Business and Professional ( DNFBPs), are legally and professionally  being looked at by FIU to ensure full compliance in the confines of the law without fear or favor.

“With this discovery, the FIU and other regulators will now hold non-compliance businesses accountable in a more stringent way to carry out their mandatory compliance obligation,” he noted.

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