The Center Against Money Laundering & Terrorist Financing in Liberia (CAMTEFIL) has launched a campaign against money laundering and illegal drug trafficking in the country.
Speaking at the official launching ceremony of the campaign, held recently at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) on Broad Street, Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe warned public officials to desist from laundering money and drug traffickers in the country.
The ceremony was held under the theme: “Capacity Building and Sensitization Campaign against Money Laundering and Illicit Drug and Terrorist Financing in Liberia.”
Cllr. Gongloe explained money laundering as a process of taking proceeds of criminal activity and making them to appear clean. According to him, this is dangerous for any country especially Liberia that is still lacking infrastructures and development.
According to Cllr. Gongloe, those infamously known for money laundering are drug traffickers, because “they are eager to generate enough money from their criminal enterprise and their intention is to put the proceeds of criminal conduct into a financial system like people who do legal businesses.”
“Some time people engage into ‘white color crimes’ such as corrupt government officials when they convert public money to their own, take bribes, and also carry out money laundering at their various work places,” he stated.
According Mr. Gongloe, a drug trafficker or corrupt government official could open a nightclub, a big farm, a transport business, jewelry business and the buying and selling of diamonds with the motive of transforming illegal money to legal money in the society.
He stressed that the fight against money laundering is therefore morally justified, but cannot succeed without the collective efforts of all the relevant stakeholders, including law enforcement officers, as well as patriotic citizens.
Cllr. Gongloe, who served as Solicitor General, explained that if drug traffickers find themselves in a country where the proceeds of their criminal activities can be easily transformed into good money, they will bring more drugs and the young people will be exposed to drug addiction.”
According to him, the feasibility of corrupt officials easily depositing and withdrawing money without being questioned by law enforcers on how much money one can deposit or withdraw could support conversion of public funds into private funds and bribes taken by them into local bank easily.
Also speaking, Edwim W. Harris, director, CAMTEFIL, said the fight against money laundering must be seen as a national problem that will help to reduce drug trafficking and other forms of corruption in Liberia.
He explained that it was necessary for people in the government and other private sectors to display their assets so as to avoid confusion over their wealth when they leave power.