Liberia: FIU Recovers Over US$284K in Alleged Money Laundering and Tax Evasion Schemes

The Director-General of the Financial Intelligence Unit of Liberia (FIU), Edwin W. Harris 

The Financial Intelligence Unit of Liberia (FIUL) has announced the recovery of more than US$284,000 from two companies suspected of money laundering and tax evasion. 

In November 2021, a source filed a complaint with the FIUL, alleging wire fraud and money laundering by Korlane Investment Limited Liability Company and its corporate owners. 

As supported by the FIUL Act 2012, the FIUL commenced an analysis and preliminary investigation into the allegations reported.  Based on reasonable suspicion of Money Laundering reinforced by findings of preliminary investigations, a freeze order was placed on all the company’s accounts in Liberia, thus protecting alleged proceeds of crime pending the outcome of a full-scale investigation and subsequent criminal trial. 

Thereafter, a full-scale investigation into the allegation was conducted by Law Enforcement Authorities. The Investigators found that Korlane Investment Limited Liability Company operated a shell company in Liberia without an office or staff, and opened and used its accounts in Liberia to launder, conceal and direct stolen funds generated through unusual transactions from wire fraud — a predicate to the crime of money laundering. 

Further, the Investigators found that said ill-gotten funds were usually withdrawn by a foreign national named Patrick Hermann Diega Wahi, who comes to Liberia to effect withdrawal under the authority of Evgene Nikisuit, Korlane’s account holder.    As a result, in early January Korlane Investments Liberia Limited Liability Company and its corporate owners including Patrick Hermann Diega Wahi, Evgene Nikisuit, and others to be identified, were indicted by the Grand Jury for Montserrado County for the crimes of Money Laundering, Wire fraud, Theft of Property, and criminal conspiracy. 

According to the FIUL, upon obtaining a writ of arrest by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) for Patrick Hermann Diega Wahi, who had come to Liberia to withdraw the said proceeds, Wahi evaded being arrested and absconded from the bailiwick of the Republic of Liberia. 

During the May Term of Court, the case was called for trial based on the notice of assignment; the absence of the defendants was noted by the Court.  Thereafter, a motion to confiscate the proceeds was filed consistent with the Provisional Remedies Proceeds of Crimes Act 2013. The motion was assigned for hearing and argued. 

The Presiding Judge of Criminal Court C granted the motion and ordered the proceeds of over US$234,000 confiscated and transferred to the General Revenue Account of Liberia by the FIUL. 

As mandated by the Court, the FIUL has duly transferred the said amount to the General Revenue Account. On the other hand, FIUL has recently recovered US$50,000 from a company operating in Liberia and evading tax obligations. The matter was brought to the attention of FIUL by a source. Exercising its powers, the FIUL, jointly with the MoJ, restricted the corporate accounts of the company. 

In collaboration with the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), the said amount was recovered representing the tax liabilities of the Company. Based on a mandate from the Civil law Court for Montserrado County, the said amount has been transferred to the Government of Liberia’s general revenue account. 

The FIUL commends the government of Liberia for its demonstrated will to tackle money laundering and at the same time appreciates the public confidence reposed in the FIUL. The FIUL recommits continue to fight robustly to secure Liberia’s financial space from being used by enablers and launderers.