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Thursday, April 18, 2024

CENTAL CALLS FOR SUSPENSION OF FIA BOSS STANLEY FORD 

Date:

MONROVIA – The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) has called on President Joseph Nyuma Boakai to immediately suspend the Financial Intelligence Agency of Liberia (FIA) Director General, Mr. Stanley Ford, and all those at the center of the saga pending outcome of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission’s (LACC) ongoing Investigation

CENTAL through its Executive Director Anderson Miamen in a press conference yesterday (March 28, 2024) said based on February 27, 2024, Frontpage Africa’s publication that the Financial Intelligence Agency of Liberia (FIA), which is mandated to investigate financial crimes is itself alleged to have been caught in the web of dubious financial dealings and crimes.

According to the publication, over one million United States Dollars was disbursed in the name of the Comptroller, including over US$500 Thousand withdrawn on the same day it was transferred by the Central Bank of Liberia.

The publication further disclosed another report placed the total amount involved in the scandal to over US$6 million.

“For us, these reports are not just disturbing but have the proclivity to erode citizens and development partners’ trust in institutions like the FIA clothed with the authority to fight corruption and other shady financial dealings, including money laundering,” he said if not properly disposed of, these allegations could hamper the credibility of the institution, including the outcomes of sanctions and other efforts made to enforce their very important mandate.

For example, Miamen said fines imposed on insurance companies, banks, gaming companies and other entities for violation of financial procedures could face stiff challenges. Also, responsible institutions might hesitate to make suspicious transaction reports to FIA, as required by its 2022 amended act.

“We note multiple occasions during which FIA sanctioned individuals and institutions accused and investigated for alleged dubious financial dealings and money laundering, similar to that which the current leadership is accused of.”

“For example, in 2021, granting a motion filed by FIA, the Presiding Judge of Criminal Court C ordered the proceeds of over US$234,000 confiscated and transferred to the General Revenue Account of Liberia. The company at the center of the saga, Korlane Investment Limited Liability Company and its corporate owners were investigated by FIA for alleged wire fraud and money laundering. The very FIA with a mandate to fight such a crime cannot be at the center of similar and even more egregious incidents; it thus needs timely and appropriate action (s) from the leadership of the Country.

We have reliably learned that Mr. Ford is undergoing investigation by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC). This is highly welcoming. However, given the gravity of this corruption scandal and its implications for the work and reputation of FIA and by extension the country’s integrity sector, we strongly recommend an administrative sanction, pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation.  Therefore, we call on President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, Sr. to immediately Suspend Mr. Stanley Ford, director general of the institution and all those at the center of the saga, as their continued presence as leaders and managers casts dark shadow over the institution and neutralize its ability to fight financial crimes and other related crimes. Also, we encourage the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission to timely complete her ongoing investigation into the matter as well as provide regular updates to the public.

In conclusion, we urge institutions and individuals leading anti-corruption efforts to set very high standards for others to follow, both in and out of government. The latest incident at FIA does not only damage the entity’s reputation but affects the morale of staff who are working diligently and may sometimes sacrifice to perform their assigned responsibilities. President Boakai must act and do so now if stakeholders must have the required level of confidence in and continue to do business with the Financial Intelligence Agency of Liberia.

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