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Sierra Leone
Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Jail Term for Illegal FOREX Trading -Bank Governor Warns

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Governor Kelfala M. Kallon

As Sierra Leone’s exchange rates against major global currencies continue to fall, the Governor of the country’s Central Bank Prof. Kelfala M. Kallon, has issued another stern warning to those trading in foreign currencies illegally.

In March this year, it could be recalled that Prof. Kallon gave an ultimatum to all street FOREX vendors to regularize their operations by registering with the Bank.

Since coming to office in 2018, Sierra Leone’s currency – the Leone has lost over 20% of its value against the Dollar and the British Pound, due largely to the massive fall in mining exports revenue and the country’s inability to produce much of what it consumes locally.

Announcing the new measures to fight illegal foreign currency trading, Governor Kelfala M. Kallon said that he is doing so in line with the powers vested in the Bank of Sierra Leone – Section 48 (3) of the Bank’s Act of 2019, to augment the measures he announced on 2nd of March 2020. This is what he announced over the weekend:

“Anyone caught engaging, or attempting to engage, in buying or selling foreign currency without being licensed by the Bank of Sierra Leone to operate as foreign exchange dealers shall forfeit all foreign currencies found in their possession or under their control.

“That persons who engage, or attempt to engage, in foreign currency transactions with persons not licensed by the Bank of Sierra Leone to operate as foreign exchange dealers shall forfeit to the Bank of Sierra Leone all foreign currencies found in their possession or under their control.

“That foreign currencies found in the possession or under the control of anyone who engages or attempts to engage in foreign currency transactions at any place other than the registered business address of a licensed foreign exchange dealer shall be forfeited to the Bank of Sierra Leone.

“That violators of the above directives shall be referred to the Financial Intelligence Unit for investigation into whether they violated Section 23 and 24 of the Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting of Financing of Terrorism Act, 2012.”

He further reminds the public that anyone caught contravening these regulations shall be charged under Section 26(5) of the Bank of Sierra Leone Act 2019, and punished upon conviction with a fine of Le100 million or be imprisoned for a term not less than three years or both.

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