Liberia, Sierra Leone FIUs Brainstorm to Fight Money Laundering At Border Points

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Edwin W. Harris, FIU Liberia Director General

The Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) of Liberia and neighboring Sierra Leone are presently brainstorming on workable measures to fight trade-based money laundering, the movement of cash along the borders of the two Mano River Union (MRU) countries, sharing intelligence and expertise in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.

A press release quotes Harris as saying that their visit to  Sierra Leone is on the basis of sharing experiences and learning lessons from the Sierra Leonean FIU and other competent authorities in that neighboring country who just completed their second round of mutual evaluations with a moderate rating. 

“The last Mutual Evaluations of Liberia were conducted in 2010 with a poor rating that placed Liberia on an Expedited Reporting status, which resulted in the act of legislation for the establishment of the FIU in 2012 and several legal frameworks for preventing money laundering and combating terrorist financing in Liberia.”

The FIU Director General further mentioned that the weeklong visit would provide insight for the stakeholders in Liberia’s  Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Terrorist Financing regime. 

“In the same vein, the Financial Intelligence Unit of Liberia and its Sierra Leonean counterpart will explore opportunities in fighting trade-based money laundering, the movement of cash along the border with Liberia and Sierra Leone, sharing intelligence and expertise in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing,” he pointed out. 

The press release also stated that the working visit to Sierra Leone includes representatives from the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), and the Liberia National Police (LNP). 

However, the FIU also announces that the National Risk Assessment Draft report will be validated on the 29th to the 30th of April 2021, during a validation workshop jointly with GIABA and the FIU. 

“The validated and subsequent Published National Risk Assessment will be a key tool in the second round of mutual evaluation of Liberia.” 

The release continues: the validation will bring key stakeholders in Liberia’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regime, partners and the GIABA Secretariat together for the final stage before the publication on April 30, 2021.

“An action plan mitigating the identified risks will be presented to stakeholders and partners for implementation,” the release added. 

Meanwhile, the African Development Bank, through the Project Management Unit\IPFRP at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, provided funds for the weeklong working visit to Sierra Leone.

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