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Saturday, July 20, 2024

LIBERIA JOINS EGMONT GROUP TO STRENGTHEN FIGHT AGAINST FINANCIAL CRIMES

Date:

In an effort to improve international cooperation and lawfully protect the global financial system from abuse and corruption, Mr. Mohammed A. Nasser, Officer In Charge of the Financial Intelligence Agency of Liberia (FIA) has affixed his signature in adherence to commitment to the Egmont Group Charter of Financial Intelligence Units thus, making Liberia a full member of the Egmont Group.

According to the FIA press release issued today and signed by Mr. Mohammed A. Nasser, Officer-In-Charge, Nigeria and Congo Brazzaville provided mentorship for Liberia to acquire membership with the Egmont Group, according to Mr. Mohammed A. Nasser,

Officer-In-Charge of the FIA. He emphasized that presently, Liberia has all rights and privileges to the global platform which is a medium to improve international cooperation, communication, information sharing, and training coordination in the fight against money laundering, terrorist financing, and other financial crimes based on the support of Egmont Group members from different continents that are well-experienced.

Accordingly, Mr. Nasser elaborated that FIA-Liberia’s membership with Egmont Group shall provide a protective international platform for information exchange between FIA-Liberia and other Egmont group member states to enhance bilateral, multilateral, and flexible global practices, in accordance with global Anti-Money Laundering, Countering the Financing of Terrorism, and Proliferation Financing (AML/CFT/PF) Standards set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Mr. Nasser stressed that this global platform provides Liberia with a wider and more secured means to protect the country’s financial system from abuse, given that the global network shall deeply improve the exchange of knowledge and information to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, and associated predicate offenses for the protection of Liberia’s and the global financial system.

In another development, Liberia has successfully submitted its first follow-up report to its Second Round of Mutual Evaluation Report (MER), which was conducted by Assessors of the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), from September 5-16, 2023, in Monrovia, Liberia.

The Second Round of Mutual Evaluation Report, which was adopted by the GIABA 39th Technical Commission and Plenary Meetings in May 2023, placed Liberia on an Enhanced Follow-up process; requiring Liberia to report back to Plenary annually.

This Mutual Evaluation Report (MER) process primarily focused on two interrelated components of the FATF 40 Recommendations, i) Technical Compliance and ii) Effectiveness. It also analyses the level of compliance with the FATF 40 Recommendations and the level of effectiveness of Liberia’s AML/CFT system and provides recommendations on how the system could be strengthened.

Liberia’s first follow-up report highlights key actions it has taken to address the priority actions, the recommended actions, and deficiencies identified in its MER.

Key actions highlighted in Liberia’s first Follow-up Report include:

1) The Enactment of the Control Drug and Substance Act of 2023, which seeks to regulate, restrict, control, limit or eradicate the illegal importation and exportation, as well as the use, abuse, and proliferation of narcotic substances within the bailiwick of Liberia. This new law grades drug/substance trafficking as a first-degree felony, punishable by a prison term of 10 years and not exceeding 20 years consistent with provisions of the Penal Code Section 50.5 and 50.6 and it is a Non-Bailable Offense.

2) Liberia approved and published the Beneficial Ownership (BO) Regulations and launched the Beneficial Ownership Registry for legal persons and arrangements in August of 2023.

3) The approval of Liberia’s membership request to the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) by the Membership Support Compliance Working Group (MSCWG) in Malta, in January 2024 for recommendation to the Heads of FIU (HoFIU), from June 3-7, 2024, in Paris France.

Meanwhile, Liberia’s delegation to the GIABA 41st Technical Commission and Plenary meeting was headed by Mr. Mohammed A. Nasser, Officer-In-Charge (OIC) of the Financial Intelligence Agency of Liberia (FIA) and GIABA National Correspondent.

Other esteemed members of the Liberian delegation were:

Cllr. Oswald Tweh – Minister of Justice, and Chairperson of the National AML/CFT Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee (IMC), Atty. Samuel Kofi Woods – National Security Adviser to the President of the Republic of Liberia, Cllr. Alexandra K. Zoe, Executive Chairperson, Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) / Member of the IMC, Mr. Abraham Kromah-Director General of the Liberia National Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA) and Member of the IMC (Prior to his suspension), Mr. Amos Y. Boakai – Deputy Director General, FIA, Mr. Fonsia M. Donzo, Director – Regulation and Supervision-Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), Mr. Bobby Quiwu Harris – Compliance Manager, FIA, and Mrs. Murrella R. Bedell-Fahnbulleh – Assistant Director, AML/CFT Unit, CBL.

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