To curtail money laundering in Liberia, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) will have to enforce four major regulations in the country.
Alex Cuffy, Director and Chief Executive Officer of FIU, made the disclosure on Tuesday during the regular press briefing at the Ministry of Information on Capitol Hill, Monrovia.
Financial Intelligence Unit-Liberia (FIU) is a member of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering and Terrorists Financing in West Africa (GIABA), a specialized institution of ECOWAS responsible for facilitating the adoption and implementation of CFT (Counter Terrorist Financing) measures in West Africa.
Regulation 1 includes dealing with cross-border transaction of currency and bearer negotiable instruments issued by FIU and the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA).
According to Director Cuffy, this regulation requires that all persons entering or leaving Liberia by air, land or sea must to declare currency or instruments above the threshold of US$10,000 or its equivalent in Liberian dollars. Under the regulation, he said, “All persons are obligated to provide customs officers with all relevant information or documentation to determine whether resources above the threshold being transported across the border are legitimate in origin or method of acquisition.”
Regulation 2 seeks to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1267 and 1373, specifically as it relates to the further distribution of and action on the United Nations list of terrorists and terrorist groups.
He said it requires reporting, regulation and other entities to inform the FIU upon receipt of any customer or potential customer on the list.
“Financial institutions and other entities must also screen new and potential customers and inform the FIU about any transaction or attempted transaction by a name identified on the list,” he said.
Regulation 3 regards Currency Transaction Reporting (CTR) for financial institutions, while Regulation 4 is about Suspicious Transaction Reporting (STR), also for financial institutions that were issued by the FIU.
Director Cuffy said the regulations on CTR and STR are to be implemented by financial institutions located throughout Liberia, and regulated by the Central Bank of Liberia.
The regulation on Currency Transaction Reporting for Financial Institutions requires the mandatory filing of Cash Transactions Reports (CTRs) by financial institutions to FIU, based on the threshold of US$5,000 and above for individuals, or US$10,000 and above for businesses and institutions.
He said in order to fully implement these regulations that were published on March 18 the FIU requests the general public’s fullest cooperation respecting the enforcement of these regulations.
“The FIU is committed in ensuring the full implementation of these regulations as it strives to protect Liberia’s financial system from abuse of financial crimes for the enhancement of national, regional and global peace and economic stability,” he added.
The FIU was created by the FIU Act of 2013, to serve as the central national agency for receiving, requesting, conducting preliminary investigation, analyzing and disseminating information concerning suspected proceeds from crime and properties of terrorists.