The Association of Certified Compliance Professionals in Africa (ACCPA) has recognized the International Bank (Liberia) Limited (IBLL) for anti-money laundering efforts in the country. The bank was awarded by the group as the best in Anti-Money Laundering Compliance in Liberia. The honor was bestowed at the 2019 ACCPA Compliance Conference held in South Africa recently. The conference was held under the theme “Improving Risk & Compliance Standards in Africa, at Hilton Hotel, in Sandton, Johannesburg.
ACCPA is the official certifying body for Audit, Risk, and Compliance professionals on the African continent. The organization sets the standards for compliance professionals and compliance departments at African financial institutions. Therefore, its certification is the Gold Standard for compliance professionals in Africa.
This huge boost presents IBBL as a safe haven for clean or appropriate financial transactions as oppose to being an agent for money laundering not just in the country but the whole of Africa.
IBLL was nominated for the award along with four other banks from Liberia and was also nominated for the continental award of Most Improved Compliance Program, a bank official told the Daily Observer.
It may not have a foothold here now, but money laundering is by no means a new crime. Just as the ways in which customers conduct legitimate banking have grown more complex over time, so too have the methods for duping financial institutions into essentially “washing” money made through “dirty” transactions. And these shady financial transactions are gradually spreading in the West African region—a cause for concern. “This is why the bank has been living up to existing measures while instituting new ones to ensure that we adequately combat the menace of money laundering,” a bank official said.
It is no secret that financial institutions, and the overall world financial markets and banking system are to a higher extent used to process illegal monies. Banks and financial institutions are at risk from being used for such activities as failure to observe their new legal responsibilities in combating money laundering leaves many of them open to criminal prosecution and the subsequent adverse publicity.
It is against these that the ACCPA and other anti-money laundering groups up procedures that financial institutions are to adhere to.
Because of its deceptive nature, the full extent of money laundering is unknown; estimates range from $100 billion to $300 billion. The main bulk of monies to be laundered originate from the narco (drugs related) economy and so by estimating the size of the narco-economy a good approximation of the size of global money laundering may be achieved.
Money laundering plays a fundamental role in facilitating the ambitions of the drug trafficker, the terrorist, the organized criminal, the inside dealer, the tax evader as well as the many others who need to avoid the kind of attention from the authorities that sudden wealth brings from illegal activities.
ACCPA disclosed that IBBL won the award as a result of “making the most commitment towards the Risk & Compliance function at the institution.”
Nominees and winners of the ACCPA Award are determined using ACCPA Score assessment which assesses the strengths of a financial institution’s compliance program. The areas of risk and compliance commitment include professional certification for the risk and compliance staff, risk and compliance training for employees, customer verification, Transaction Screening and PEP screening, Sponsorship for staff to attend risk compliance events and attitude and competency of the risk and compliance staff among others are assessed during the evaluation process.
According to IBLL Chief Executive Officer, Henry F. Saamoi, the bank’s management joins the ACCPA in recognizing the efforts of team. This recognition serves to highlight the bank’s commitment to adhering the highest ethical and professional standards of banking, boosting the confidence of customers and the public, and IB pledges to maintain such high standards.
The Association of Certified Compliance Professionals in Africa is the Gold Standard for Risk & Compliance professional certification in Africa and assesses the strength of the Risk & Compliance function at financial institutions every year and recognizes the institutions that are making the most commitment.
The most notable among money laundering scandals is the notorious Bank of Credit and Commerce International scandal of the late 1980s – which saw the seventh largest financial institution in the world get caught up in illegal dealings with the likes of Saddam Hussein and Manuel Noriega and the more recent US$6 billion in 2013. However, it appears that no banks, no matter how prestigious, are completely impervious to laundering crimes.
The legal complexities of these crimes, along with their prevalence, make it hard for institutions that may not have the resources or diplomatic sway to recoup.