Edwin W. Harris, Director General of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of Liberia has finally taken the helm of the ECOWAS Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering (GIABA) as its new Director General.
GIABA is a specialized institution of ECOWAS that is responsible for the prevention and control of money laundering and terrorist financing in the sub region.
Harris took over that ECOWAS body on Monday, August 1, from Justice Kimelabalou Aba of Togo, who led GIABA from February 28, 2018 to July 19, 2022.
The turning over ceremony was held in Dakar, Senegal.
The former FIU boss, who has been described as one of Liberia’s top-notch financial investigators, will be assigned to Dakar, Senegal, where the ECOWAS specialized anti-money laundering body headquarters is located.
Harris is expected to serve the GIABA for a non-renewable term of four (4) years from the date of assumption of responsibility to July 14th, 2026.
Announced on July 19, 2022 at the 88th ordinary session of the Council of Ministers of ECOWAS (GIABA) in Abuja, Nigeria, GIABA’s appointment of Harris came through his nomination by President George Manneh Weah to that top regional position.
Having met with a group of experts who interviewed and vetted him for the diplomatic job, Harris was accepted and appointed.
His preferment to become the new director general of GIABA was helped by a number of accomplishments in Liberia, including his expert opinion on the country’s potential for severe economic sanctions from partners and other private donors or investors, threatening to sanction and revoke the operating licenses of insurance companies for their alleged failure to comply with the FIU mandate in filing their currency transaction report and suspicious transaction reports, as well as threatening to sanction and revoke the operating licenses of banks for their alleged refusal to comply with the FIU mandate in filing their currency transaction report and suspicious transaction report.
Other achievements include the release of the National Risk Assessment report to the Liberia Bankers Association and the beginning of the nation's FIU National Strategy and Action Plan on countering money laundering and terrorism financing in Liberia.
He has a plethora of diverse professional expertise.
Nationally, he has served as the National Director for the Center Against Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing in Liberia prior to his appointment as the Director General of FIU and subsequently GIABA.
The newly appointed GIABA Director General also worked as Director for Government Affairs at the General Auditing Commission in 2009; Senior Program Assistant at the National Democratic Institute (NDI), in 2007; and County Coordinator of the National Election Commissions from 2004 to 2006.
Meanwhile, Harris’ appointment letter was signed by Mr. Suzi Carala Barabosa, on behalf of the Council President.