The National Coordinator of the Financial Intelligence Reporters Association (NCFIRA), Lawrence M. Fahnbulleh, says the former legal counsel of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Atty. Wonder Freeman, provided false and misleading information, according to his investigations.
Atty. Freeman was served a letter of termination of his contract early this year, which he challenged by writing to the Board of FIU, but failed to convince them otherwise. Atty. Freeman recently made an allegation of financial malpractices at the FIU.
Coordinator Fahnbulleh made the assertion over the weekend in Monrovia when he said Atty. Freeman needs to show cogent evidences of the financial malpractice he said is being perpetrated at the FIU.
Based on his investigation of Freeman’s six-point allegation, Fahnbulleh explained that the unit received a US$50,000 grant from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Inter-governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), from which the entity successfully carried out a three-month awareness and sensitization project, and submitted the reports to the institution’s Board.
GIABA is an institution of ECOWAS responsible for facilitating the adoption and implementation of anti-money laundry policies.
Commenting on a recent trip, Mr. Fahnbulleh said “The trip was approved by the Board and financed by the Government of Liberia, which was made available to all FIU staff and the FIU Board, and a copy of the travel document was submitted to the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP).”
A copy of the travel document is in the possession of the Daily Observer.
On the issue of fuel, Fahnbulleh said apart from the Director and Deputy Director who are assigned with government vehicles, no other staff member receives fuel, adding “Signatures of the FIU account, the policy document states, has four signatories, two each for categories A and B to all FIU.”
Fahnbulleh said he believes that the FIU has been doing some good work, including free training for the media on how to investigate financial crimes like money laundering and financial terrorism.