MONROVIA, Aug. 11 (LINA) – Staff of the Liberia’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), compliance officers of the nine banks operating in the country, and lawyers and judges now have a unique library they can visit to widen their scope of understanding of financial crimes and other fraudulent acts that run contrary to national and international transactional norms.
The FIU has inaugurated for the first time the recourse center at its offices in Congo Town, Paynesville, which its executives and partners say is indicative of a great deal of energy to intercept deceitful, illegal pecuniary dealings in keeping with the agency’s function and partners’ expectations.
At the opening ceremony, Executive Director Edwin Harris noted that Liberia is taking significant steps in curbing financial crimes though it needs the necessary support from the Central Government to do more to reach a milestone recognition on the global stage in that effort.
Also equipped with computers for e-learning purpose, shelves at the resource center have books whose title include: “Legal Globalization: Money Laundering Law and Other Cases;” “Bank Fraud Using Technology to Combat Losses;” “Terrorist Criminal Enterprises: Financing Terrorism through Organized Crimes;” and “Understanding White Collar Crime”.
Funding for the actualization of the library was provided by the government of Liberia with some technical assistance and motivation from development partners, including the United States Government and anti-fraud group, Nathan International, according to Harris.
In a special statement, the Minister of Finance and Development t Planning, Samuel Tweah, challenged would-be visitors to the library to make the maximum use of resource materials therein to widen their capacity in the fight against fraud.
He officially declared the library opened.
The government is working hard to show greater transparency and accountability in order to change the corruption perception which sometimes becomes widespread in the country even if there was no case of corruption, Min. Tweah indicated.
“Liberia needs a pool of talents and expertise in illicit financial flows and anti-money laundering,” the Finance Minister noted.
He added: “As a country, we have to pay attention to our financial sector, its credibility, and transparency on how we manage data as a way of attracting serious investment. For example to get major international banks like HSBC… they’re not here.
« And I’m told by the experts that one of the reasons why they will come is the quality of our anti-money laundering framework and legislations and the corresponding enforcement in the financial sector that shows greater transparency predictability and special partnership in fighting crimes and illicit financial flows. Those are the strongest indicators that we’ll need,” said Min. Tweah at the brief socially-distanced program.
Integrity institutions such as the FIU, General Auditing Commission and others do not deliver tangible things that are perceptible to the public: people don’t see them build roads, build schools, but the invisible things that they do are the linchpin or provide the linchpin for the country’s economic survival. This means they are very important to national transformation, the Finance Minister added.
On his part, the House of Representative Co-chair on Public Account and Expenditure, Rep. Clarence Garr, said “the FIU we knew before is not the FIU today,” further commenting that the setting up of the (special) library increases the confidence of international partners to do business with Liberia.
Like many countries in the West African region, the Liberian economy has been evidently challenged by the emergence of the Coronavirus, only adding to existing hardship the government had been working to resolve.
When he took the podium, the president of the Bankers Association of Liberia and CEO and President of the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), , John B.S. Davies,0 described what he witnessed at the integrity agency as “a greater enabling environment for the FIU.”
In order for an FIU to be effective it has to exhaust an element of its general framework which is the ‘Efficiency and Effectiveness of FIU Supervisory Responsibility’, said Mr. Davis.
He observed that it should not be a surprise to see bankers in top management positions going to drink from the fountain of the library.
“Well on the march and all we can do as banks is put our hands in your hands in ensuring that we go through this together so that at the end of the day the Republic of Liberia is the ultimate winner,” the LBDI president said.