Welcoming Liberia’s GIABA Move, But

REPORTS REACHING MONROVIA says Liberia has scored high marks at the just ended West Africa Anti-money Laundering Group (GIABA) Plenary held in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire from May 18 to May 23. The GIABA

PLENARY COMMENDED LIBERIA for taking significant steps at the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing in the country. The report also noted that the GIABA Plenary maintained Liberia on the Regular Expedited Follow- Up Process and requested Liberia to submit its 5th Follow-Up Report to GIABA Secretariat before the May 2016 Plenary.

ADDITIONALLY, PLENARY REQUESTED Liberia to submit a progress report to GIABA Secretariat before the November 2015 Plenary on criminalizing the outstanding predicate offences including Illicit trafficking in stolen and other goods; illicit arms trafficking; and counterfeiting and piracy of products, amend existing anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) laws to adequately empower Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA5) to confiscate property/proceeds of crime; establish robust procedures and mechanisms for implementing UNSCRs 1267 and 1373.

SUCH PROCEDURES AND mechanism should, amongst other things, highlight procedures for considering de-listing as well as requests for unfreezing funds; effective systems for communicating actions taken under the freezing mechanism to reporting entities.

ACCORDINGLY LIBERIA IS to also submit a progress report to the GIABA Secretariat before the November Plenary on ensuring effective AML/CFT supervision for reporting entities, and strengthen domestic cooperation; and enhancing the operational capacity of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and other competent authorities for effective implementation of relevant laws and regulations, and indeed, the AML/CFT regime in the country.

WE WELCOME THIS development and salute those agencies of government that are working to make Liberia a respectable member of GIABA. Liberia being a country that had experienced a serious and bitter civil war needs to put in place the requisite mechanism in line with internationally established policies when it comes to anti-money laundering and terrorist financing if its ugly past should not be repeated.

IN THIS REGARD we are encouraging all concerned especially those at the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to work for Liberia’s total compliance with international protocols that can guarantee the country being a member of West African countries that have adhered to all the guidelines governing GIABA’s work.

EQUALLY SO, TO achieve this noble under taking, the Government of Liberia must strengthen its financial, logistic and political support to local institutions working for Liberia to be in compliance with GIABA rules and regulations. It is only such support that can help institutions such as the FIU to meet up with the numerous challenges and rid our country of financial crimes such as money laundering, terrorist financing among others. This support must be doubled to enable the FIU work diligently to make Liberia a country free from those activities which resemble anti-money laundering and terrorist financing operations.