In the fight against Money Laundering and Terrorism, the Attorney General Serry- Kamal yesterday officially opened a seminar on the draft anti money laundering and suppression of the financing of terrorism Act.
In his opening statement, the AG said, “Sierra Leone like many of its partners, understands the economic, social and political consequences of money laundering and the financing of terrorism and is committed to implementing to the extent possible those systems and procedures as stipulated in the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF’s) forty plus nine recommendations.”
He explained that “the fundamental objectives of our anti-money laundering and combating of the financing of the financing of terrorism efforts has been to ensure that criminal syndicates do not use the country to perpetrate their heinous crimes.”
He said, “In fact, the speedy enactment of the Anti Narcotics and Psychotropic Substance Act 2008 in the aftermath of the cocaine seizure and the successful prosecution of these drug traffickers has demonstrated our commitment of fighting criminality and to safeguard our systems from misuse by international criminal networks,”
The AG said, “even though we have achieved some progress at different fronts, we need to fulfill obligations undertaken at regional and international levels which calls for renowned commitment to implementing measures to address some of renewed commitment to implementing measures to address some of the identified weaknesses as contained in the Mutual Evaluation Report of the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering and Terrorist financing in West Africa (GIABA).”
Director of banking supervision department Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Yeabu Kamara said the consequences of money laundering are well known. “It is a way to legitimizing illegal activities and making crime lucrative,” she said.
Yeabu pointed out that money laundering has the potential to undermine the integrity of financial system and market place, with its attendant economic, social and political problems.
Therefore, she added, “as regulators, we need the power and enabling legal environment to safeguard the country’s financial system and the country as a whole from abuse criminal syndicates.”
Deputy Bank Governor, Andrina Coker said since the enactment of the Anti-money laundering Act 2005, and the setting up of the Inter Ministerial Committee, the bank of Sierra Leone in collaboration with the IMC, has always recognized the need to continue to strengthen the legislative framework to combat money laundering and terrorist financing offences in line with international standards.