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FIU Fines Insurance Companies LD 21M For Violation, Non-Compliance and Obstruction

By Bill W. Cooper
The Financial Intelligence Unit of Liberia (FIU) says it has imposed LD21 million fines on all Insurance Companies operating in Liberia for non-compliance, violation and obstruction.
They are the Accident and General Life Insurance Company, American Underwriter Group, Accidental and Casualty Insurance Company, Activia Insurance Company, Blue Cross Insurance Company, Insurance Company of Africa and Mutual Benefit Assurance Company.
Others are the Medicare Insurance Company, Omega Group of Company Limited, Palm Insurance Company, SAAR Insurance Company, SUNU Insurance Company, Secure Risk Insurance Company and the Sky Insurance Company.
Addressing a news conference yesterday at his FIU office in Paynesville, the FIU Director General, Edwin W. Harris mentioned that Insurance Companies operating in the country have for years refused and failed to file both its Currency Transaction and Suspicious Transaction Reports.
He pointed out that the inaction or willful blindness of the insurance companies amounted to obstruction of lawful investigation which in itself is a criminal offense under the laws of Liberia.
According to him, said deliberate refusal by these Insurance Companies is a clear Violation of section 67.4.1,67.5 of the 2012 Financial Intelligence Unit Act and both section 2. 4 of the regulations on Currency and Suspicious Transaction reports and unlawfully exempted themselves.
DG Harris explained that the unlawful exemption taken by these insurance companies and their refusal to file impedes one of the core functions of the FIU to collect, analyze and disseminate useful information to Law Enforcement and Competent Authorities pursuant to section 67.3(a).
He clarified that each of the above listed corporation was fined LD1,500.000 for what he described as their unlawful exemption, failure and declines to file in keeping with the regulations on both Currency Transaction Report and Suspicious Reports.
“The FIU will take additional actions to include the recommendations for suspension of operating license and publicly designate the entity as a high-risk entity due to non-compliance to Anti Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and financing the proliferation of the weapon of mass destruction regulations,” the FIU boss warned.
Mr. Harris further stated that all fines levied are to be paid in the FIU Transitory Account at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) within 72 hours, noting that any violations, said insurance company will be deprived from doing business with the CBL including the revoking of its head license to operate in Liberia.
Meanwhile, the FIU is at the same time calling on the Liberian Senate to consider the Anti – Money Laundering Law and the Financial Intelligence Agency Act, noting that both instruments will play a key role in the mutual evaluations.
“The FIU wants the Senate look at the original instruments given as concurring with the House’s version will not serve the purpose for mutual evaluation and it will need to go for amendment.
“Also, the FIU wants other bills such as the amendments to the penal code criminalizing market manipulation, inside trading pass, as all of the above are objects for the mutual evaluation upon which Liberia could suffer a setback if not passed on time,” Mr. Harris averred.

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