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Insurance Companies, Others Risk Sanction

The Director General of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Edwin W. Harris has said Insurance companies, and Designated Non-Financial Business and Professionals (DNFBPs) operating in Liberia risk sanction between now and the end of year for failure to submit its Currency Transaction Reports to the FIU.
He stressed that since his ascendency as the head of the FIU, it has been observed that for the past eight years, Insurance companies operating in the country are yet to submit their respective report to the FIU, and as such, his leadership will now be the imposition of US250,000, 500,000 or 1 million fine as means of serving as a deterrence to would be violator.
He made the assertion on Friday, during a special edition of the Wilmot Bladen forum organized by the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) at the campus in Monrovia.
According to him, said habit by insurance companies is a blatant violation of the FIU laws, as such, they will be fined, sanctioned and recommend revocation of operational license for their refusal without reliance.
“Insurance companies operating in Liberia over the last eight years have refused without any basic or reliance in law to comply in filing currency Transaction Reports to FIU,” Director Harris added.
Commenting on the issue of money laundering and terrorist financing, the FIU boss noted that his institution has seen money laundering and terrorist financing as a challenge to every country’s monetary policy and financial or economic governance and as such every citizen should see the anti-money laundering act as a priority.
Mr. Harris further maintained that the FIU and other financial institutions conducted a National Risk Assessment on money laundering and terrorist financing in 2019 to know the risk attached, measures to mitigate the risk as well as identify the number of risky areas in the finance society.
According to him, the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) was one of the stakeholders on risk assessment but since the conduct of the assessment, the report had not been published on the website of government ministries and agencies and the Central Bank of Liberia had refused to publish the report.
He then called on the CBL to publish the report for the public to have access to the primary aim of the assessment before the next rate assessment exercise which is pending for 2022.
Also speaking as one of the panelists, CENTAL Executive Director, Anderson Miameh, said that money laundering in both private and public sectors of the Liberian society has been a major issue.
He narrated that some people in top positions of government go in concessions for resources that are to benefit the citizens for themselves which prevents the country from its profit like taxes and others.
CENTAL boss also frowned at the legislature and the executive branch of the Liberian government for the passage of laws of concerns on major policies with weak measure of implementation.
He added that Liberia is a country rich on the paper when it comes to law making but very poor in the practices or enforcement of the laws referencing to the Code of Conduct for public officials.
Dir. Miameh also called on the Central Bank of Liberia to show some level of cooperation with commercial banks and other financial institutions in promoting the anti-money laundering policy by requesting the monthly Transaction Records of their clients most especially those in the public sectors.
He believes that the Central Bank Will be able to give the report to investigate people that will be observed doing suspicious financial transactions in order to strengthen the fight against money laundering as well as terrorist financing.
The Center For Transparency and Accountability of Liberia (CENTAL) boss further explained that the intelligence institution along with corruption investigation entities like the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), General Auditing Commission (GAC), the Internal Audit Agency (IAA) among many other agencies needs to be fully funded in their operations to have the work of the country done.
He expressed disappointment in the government for denying the LACC its two remaining Commissioners to complete the Board of Commissioners.
According to him, since the death of Emmanuel Yensuah as Director of the Internal Audit Agency (IAA) the government is yet to have an appointment instead of having a deputy director acting for over a year.
He said with the vacancy in these Institutions, there is negativity in the public perceptions whenever a report is presented after a major investigation.

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