At the Fifth Session of the Third Parliament which began in October and will continue until late next year, an Anti- Money Laundering and Combating of Financing of Terrorism Act were passed while a new Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) with powers to request and obtain any information that it considers relevant to an unlawful activity including money laundering and financing of terrorism was also passed as part of the Bank of Sierra Leone Act, 2011.
According to new Act, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) may request and obtain any information that it considers relevant to an unlawful activity, money laundering activities or financing of terrorism and that is publicly available, including commercially available databases or information that is collected, or maintained or stored in databases, maintained by Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
The FIU may enter the premises of a reporting Agency during business hours to inspect any record kept under section 41 and may ask questions relating to the record make notes or copies of any records relevant to their investigation or enquires.
The FIU further has powers to disclose any report or information derived from the report or received from elsewhere to an institution or agency of a foreign state or an international organization established by Governments of foreign states, if on the basis of its analysis and assessment it has reasonable grounds to suspect that the report or information will be relevant to investigating or prosecuting a money laundering or terrorist financing offence.
The FIU can also extend assistance to other countries on property tracking, monitoring and confiscating orders.
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