The Government of Liberia (GoL) through the Financial Intelligence Unit of Liberia (FIUL) has launch it’s Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Library and e-Learning Center in Liberia.
The AML/CFT center, which was launched by Minister of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) Samuel D. Tweah, Jr., on Monday, August 10, 2020, will serve as a catalyst in bridging the knowledge and capacity gap.
FIUL was established under the FIU Act of 2013 to serve as the central national agency responsible for the effective implementation of AML/CFT related activities in Liberia.
FIUL Director General Edwin W. Harris said the entity took the country’s situation of resources into consideration, sending dozens of staff out of the country annually for training.
He believes that the only option was to open a library with current books, journals, periodicals with case studies, online subscriptions of webinars, and courses by which staff could be required to provide evidence of not more than 36 credit hours of annual training.
“We have gathered here today because we are able to open our official center. When we took over, the issue of staff training was an issue that was recognized by our Nigerian counterparts that are serving as the mentor for our application.
“We believe in our interaction and compliance with banking institutions, judges, and persecutors. We saw this opportunity and have created a center that our staff can make use of so that we can no longer send them out for studies but make use of this opportunity,” he asserted.
(Photo by Charles Carr): Minister Tweah, Mr. Marcus Williamson and other Officials of Government pose for Group pictures after the official opening of FIUL Library and Learning Center
Mr. Harris said the training of their staff is one thing and the understanding of the end-users of “our work is another thing. Hence, a library that will serve both the FIUL staff, prosecutors, judges and law enforcement along with compliance officers from financial institutions is the best option.”
Taking this option, the FIUL established a Library with recent books on Anti-money laundering, terrorist financing, online subscription with the Association of Anti-Money Laundering Specialist for courses, webinar, and newsletters that our eligible users could take advantage of at the same time, allowing the FIUL to meet the minimum standard of annual training of its staff.
Mr. Harris said: “Enhancing the hygiene motivating factor for a safe and clean work environment was another issue raised by both partners; hence, providing biometric and physical security to include a 24-hour video monitoring was cardinal for the FIUL in meeting these minimum requirements.”
He said that “All of the monies used in the establishment of the library and providing biometric and video cameras came from the Government of Liberia one hundred percent.”
Also speaking, Marcus Williamson, USAID (United States Aid for International Development) Chief of Party, lauded the General Director of the FIUL for the initiative.
He said their project, the Liberia Economic Policy Dialogue Activity (LEPDA), is working with the Liberian government through the MFDP and the CBL (Central Bank of Liberia) and several other institutions to help the government to push for the agenda of the economy and forward match of the country.
“We strongly believe that supporting economic growth is essential, and I think we all know that investors will not come without financial transparency and, therefore, to see the level of work being done is impressive. It is a great job that you have done here,” he said.
At the same time, Margibi County District 5 Representative Clarence Gahr, who is a Co-Chair on Public Account Committee (PAC), said the work of the FIUL over the last couple of months shows that they have the strength and the ability to move Liberia forward.
Over the years, Representative Gahr said Liberia has been unfavorable for investment, but with our mark and growing on a daily basis, it gives confidence to our international partners that they can come here to invest. But “I want to encourage you that this should be one percent out of 100% work that you have to do.
“We will work along with both Houses and the MFDP, to ensure that if you have the needed support you can do better,” Representative Gahr said.
John B.S. Davies, President of the Liberian Bankers Association (LBA), also acknowledged the good working relationship between FIUL and the banks.
The FIUL Director-General said that commercial banks in the country depend on them (FIUL) for regulation, guidance and also relay to them to make the job done, making sure that the pallor of transparency and accountability within the banking sector of the country are upheld to the highest degree humanly possible.
The LBA president said: “We are aware of the fact that in order for the FIUL to be more effective the critical elements must be strong and must be robust and what we have observed here today is a significant step in enhancing the 5th element of that framework, which is the efficiency and effectiveness of FIUL which supervises responsibilities.”