FIU Designates OMEGA Group of Insurance Limited, Managing Director as Primary Concerns for Money Laundering
Monrovia – The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of Liberia has designated the OMEGA Insurance Company and its Managing Director, Ganjay L. Ananaba as primary concerns for money laundering.
According to the FIU, it took the decision following the company and its Managing Director’s blatantly refusal to comply with their anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorists (AML/CFT} reporting obligations, inspections, and examinations.
The FIU said, unlike other reporting entities and insurance companies, OMEGA has refused and failed to file Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) and Cash Transactions Reports (CTRs) as required by law. It also accused OMEGA of refusing to allow the FIU to inspect and examine its books and records, contrary to law; something it said is inappropriate, and suspicious on the part of OMEGA and its Managing Director Ganjay L. Ananaba.
Mr. Ananaba and OMEGA continue to display not only a hostile and arrogant posture toward the rule of law and blatant refusal to meet their statutory obligation but are also preventing regulators from carrying out statutory mandates, thereby creating huge vulnerabilities in Liberia’s financial space for obvious personal gains, the statement added.
The FIU said Liberia’s National Risk Assessment (NRA) on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing threats and vulnerabilities found corruption as one of the most prevalent predicate offenses generating crime proceeds in Liberia. Our financial system’s inability to combat money laundering and terrorist financing is also well documented in the NRA.
However, the FIU noted it has led a process to the development, validation, and approval of an AML/CFT Strategy and Action Plan to mitigate the risks identified by the NRA.
According to the management, one of the preventive measures introduced by the FIU to mitigate risks of corruption was the immediate call to place a limit on insurance companies from issuing bonds to alleged corrupt individuals beyond companies’ capacity to redeem the bond thereby, aiding and abetting acts of corruption.
To that effect, the FIU invited to all insurance companies including OMEGA by and through Mr. Ananaba; requesting submission of the total Portfolio and that of a third party or reinsurer to reduce the risks of the issuance of defective bonds to the detriment of effective attainment of justice.
Unlike all other insurance companies, the FIU claimed that OMEGA by and through Mr. Ananaba to date has refused and instead sent the FIU to meet its lawyer who in turn threatened the FIU with legal actions for carrying out its statutory and lawful work.
On another occasion, where the law empowers the FIU to inspect reporting entities’ books for compliance with all AML/CFT regulations and laws, OMEGA’s Managing Director, Mr. Ananaba refused entry and access to the FIU inspectors, thereby impeding their statutory functions, the FIU said in the statement.
It added that due to the raging Covid-19 pandemic, it had to postpone its inspection. In March 2022, the FIU informed all insurance companies that it was resuming its statutory and lawful inspection of insurance companies operating in Liberia, all accepted in keeping with the law and cooperated with the FIU except for OMEGA and its Managing Director, Ganjay L. Ananaba who again refused the FIU access and impeded its functions in an abusive and hostile manner.
The FIU said the action of OMEGA is an affront to the rule of law; adding that OMEGA and its Managing Director, Ganjay L. Ananaba have high savor for non-compliance, hostile to the regulator, disrespect for the rule of law, and gainfully benefiting from unlawful activities emanating from not being regulated, which the FIU is being prevented from uncovering.
It said: “Given the hostile and unlawful activities of Ganjay L. Ananaba and OMEGA, the FIU has come to a conclusive point that they have intentionally and unlawfully decided not to comply with AML/CFT regulations, non-law abiding, abusive to constituted authority, and willfully impeding the statutory functions of the FIU in creating preventive measures against money laundering, terrorist financing, the proceed of crimes and to disseminate useful information to law enforcement agencies and or competent authorities.”
Continuing, it added: “In light of the foregoing, the FIU in keeping with its powers to sanction non-compliance to mandatory AML/CFT obligations subject to oversight, regulations, supervision, monitoring, and its authority to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing in Liberia hereby designates Ganjay L. Ananaba and the OMEGA Group of Insurance Limited as a Primary Concern for Money Laundering in Liberia due to their lack of cooperation, high taste for non-compliance, hostile and abusiveness to regulators and wanton disregard to the rule of law.”
Meanwhile, the FIU has called on the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) to suspend with immediate effect the operating license of OMEGA to prevent the financial system from high possibility of being abused by OMEGA and Mr. Ananaba, the designees.
In addition, it stated that Mr. Ganjay L. Ananaba, as a primary concern for money laundering, is hereby considered disqualified and ineligible to head any financial institution in Liberia in addition to OMEGA.
It called on all banks and non-bank financial institutions operating in Liberia to sever their relationship with Ganjay L. Annaba and OMEGA as primary concerns for Money Laundering in Liberia, with immediate action.
Additionally, the FIU informs persons doing business with OMEGA both locally and internationally to take note and act in light of this designation against OMEGA Group of Insurance Limited and its CEO as a primary concern for money laundering in Liberia.
As part of its statutory mandate and authority, the FIU provides supervision of preventive measures over banks and non-bank financial institutions, as well as Designated Non-Financial Business and Professions (DNFBPs) for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorists’ purposes.
The FIU Act of 2012, Section 67.5 requires the institution to, among other things, inspect and examine records, ensure that reporting entities including banks, and insurance companies file Suspicious Transaction Reports and Cash Transactions Reports as mandatory reporting obligations and also be subjected to anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorists.