Liberia: Financial Intelligence Agency to Join Egmont Group

Liberia’s FIA members and Nigeria and Congo FIUs  

The Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA) of Liberia is now receiving mentoring from the Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) of two West African nations, namely Nigeria and Congo.

The objective of the mentoring is geared towards preparing Liberia extensively as the country is set to be admitted as a member of the Egmont Group. 

The Egmont Group recognizes that financial intelligence sharing is of paramount importance and has become the cornerstone of international efforts to counter money laundering, terrorist financing, and associated predicate offenses.

Financial intelligence units (FIUs) are required by international standards to exchange information and engage in international cooperation.

As a global organization, the Egmont Group facilitates and prompts the exchange of information, knowledge, and cooperation amongst member FIUs. 

It also provides FIUs with a platform to securely exchange expertise and financial intelligence to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, and associated predicate crimes.

Muhammad Jiya, Associate Director of Analysis and Compliance Directorate of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, who spoke on Monday, elaborated that the mentoring visit is intended to put Liberia on the global stage to be informed about current issues and events about ways to tackle money laundering, financing of terrorism, and proliferation financing, which pose serious threats to all countries economies.

According to Jiya, they are presently brainstorming with FIA-Liberia about getting relevant laws, regulations, and other required documents that are supportive to help Liberia meet the requirements to be granted membership with the Egmont Group.

He mentioned that FIA-Liberia cannot be more functional on the global stage if Liberia is not a member of the Egmont Group, which serves as a platform for the exchange of information to fight money laundering, financing, terrorism, and proliferation financing.

Jiya is also the Vice Chairperson of the Information Exchange Working Group of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units. 

The Nigerian FIU official intoned that Liberia's admittance has the propensity to add integrity to the country's financial system and boost and protect Liberia's economy.

“It will also promote international cooperation and allow Liberia to access instant information and easily communicate with other financial intelligence units in almost all parts of the world,” he pointed out. Jiya added that Liberia’s admittance will also help the country criminalize money laundering and other predicate offenses or crimes.

For his part, Officer-In-Charge of Liberia’s FIA, Emmanuel T. Gee, stressed that Liberia has passed and signed into law a few iconic laws such as the Witness Protection Act of 2021, the Whistle Blower Act of 2021, Anti-Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, Preventive Measures, and the Proceeds of Crime Act, which are gigantic anti-graft achievements for Liberia.

“The passage of two acts/laws that give the Financial Intelligence Agency operational and financial independence, coupled with direct prosecutorial power to the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, are concrete steps in the fight against money laundering, financing of terrorism and proliferation financing,” he pointed out.