By Amb. Jonathan Hindolo Kurabu, D Catalyst
Stakeholders from different walks of life have graced a one day consultative conference on the review of the Anti-money laundering and combating of financing of Terrorism Act 2021 as amended.
Director, Financial Intelligence Unit, David Bobor described the event as another significant milestone in the history of the anti- money laundering and counter financing of terrorism in Sierra Leone reiterating that the event is geared towards assembling stakeholders to discuss a proposed legislation which accordingly would guide the country including duty bearers in the fight against the twin scourges of money laundering and terrorism financing.
Deputy Chairman, Parliamentary Committee on Finance, Hon. Moses Edwin said the proposed bill would to a colossal extent address the existing lacunae in the Act especially with the modern innovations now employed by fraudsters hence a need to pull all strings attached to robustly fight all financial crimes in the country.
Chairman, Bo District Council, Joseph Munda Bindi and Acting Mayor, Bo City Council, J.M Smart pledged their council’s unflinching support to combat financial crimes which to a greater extent have caused financial uncertainties for customers of MY COIN in Bo.
In his keynote address, Resident Minister South, Mohamed EK Aliesaid effectively combating money laundering and terrorist financing requires a coordinating approach from legislators, law enforcement authorities, judicial authorities, financial intelligence Agencies, designated non-financial business and professions and many others in order to help mitigate the factors that facilitate financial abuse.
He said legislators recognize that money laundering, terrorists financing and organized crime are significant problems that are damaging the integrity, stability and reputation of the financial sector and threatening the internal market and the internal security of the country.
Resident Minister South thanked the Financial Intelligence Unit and other law enforcement agencies for taking appropriate measures to deal with the menace in recent times involving customers of MY COIN and QNET adding that the scheme succeeded in wrecking businesses and also plunged the people into a very big financial loss but however pleaded with FIU and the Bank of Sierra Leone to expedite the process of repayment to the affected masses.
The bill when passed into law shall apply throughout the territory of Sierra Leone covering activities of that Financial Intelligence Unit, supervisory authorities, competent authorities and other relevant law enforcement and security agencies and international partners dealing with issues of money laundering, terrorism financing, financing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, predicate offences and other related matters.