Grand Plan to Curb Illicit Finance, Tax Evasion

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The Liberian government- as a member of the United States-Africa Partnership on Illicit Finance (PIF) has created a national plan as additional means to curb illicit finance from corruption, tax evasion and other financial crimes on three key areas.

The three key areas include: promoting government transparency, combating corruption and the loss of government revenues to criminal activity, according to Alex Cuffy, Elfrieda Tamba and Cllr. James Verdier, heads of the Finance Intelligence Unit (FIU), the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), respectively.

Other areas include combating impunity and promoting accountability through the involvement of civil society and the private sector.

With the promotion of government’s transparency, they said, “Elected and cabinet-level officials and their families will make public declaration of financial interests and conflicts of interests. The shall also identify foreign accounts held by such officials and their families, even via proxy, waive legal rights to any foreign accounts not declared.”

The three government representatives issued a statement stating that part of their job is to adopt legislation that compels companies bidding on licenses for natural resource extraction through government procurement activities, to disclose their beneficial owners, make effective use of beneficial ownership information in connection with asset declaration, public procurement, and tax compliance.

In combating corruption and loss of government revenues to criminal activity, the officials say that they will ensure independence of those investigating and prosecuting corruption, ensure that those officials are granted adequate judicial, prosecutorial and enforcement authority to fulfill their mandates.

The anti-corruption trio say they also aim to “adopt measures in the health sector designed to prevent corruption, including designing an informed anti-corruption strategy for the health sector, involving measures such as improving the transparency of drug prices, publishing health budgets and facilitating public tracking of services and funds to prevent theft,” they maintained.

They also said the plan will provide training to prevent the sale or use of counterfeit drugs and facilitating enhanced anti-corruption cooperation between neighboring countries, involving customs, suppliers, medical institutions and police.

According to them, they will adopt customer due diligence laws in conformity with the financial action task force standards.

In combating impunity and promoting accountability, including the involvement of civil society and the private sector, the FIU and partners will decriminalize press offenses, allowing enhanced investigation of corruption.

“Publicly commit to a policy that creates an enabling environment for civil society and in particular, for transparency and accountability activists to work. In the course of peer review, by multilateral bodies, including reviews related to the African Union’s good governance initiatives and the United Nations Convention against Corruption, commit to allowing for input and feedback from civil society and full publication of outcomes,” they said.

They said the above actions were prioritized per consensus among the government, civil society and the private sector to be the most impactful in the joint fight against corruption, tax evasion and other financial crimes and the contributions of their proceeds to illicit financial flows.

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