Following the Proceeds of Crime in Cash-Based Economy

Gabriel W. Bellepea

The motivation of this paper is to discuss how financial crime investigations, especially the component of the investigation that has to do with following the proceeds of crimes/money laundering in Liberia, remained a constraint to Law Enforcement Authorities/Agency (LEAs). This challenge is pronounced in a cash-based economy where almost all transactions are facilitated by cash. Law enforcement’s investigation has primarily focused on the committed crime, referred to as predicate offense, while investigation relating to ‘following proceeds of the crime’/money laundering is neglected. ‘Following these proceeds of crime’ in LEAs’ investigations in order to confiscate/seize and deny criminals from benefiting from their ill-gotten money is an essential component of financial crime investigation by LEAs.

This paper intends to discover challenges LEAs face in following the proceeds of crimes in their financial crime investigations and provide solutions to the identified challenges in Liberia AML/CFT regime. This paper identified lack of technical knowledge/capacity of investigators; lack of political will; lack of integrity of investigators; lack of coordination, cooperation and collaboration among and between enforcement agencies; interference in investigations by superior officers and weak institutions in Liberia’s AML/CFT system to be the major challenges investigators face in following illicit proceeds in Liberia.

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