Beneficial ownership transparency in Liberia

  • Publication date: 18 May 2022
  • Author: Favour Ime

Executive Summary

This scoping assessment report examines the state of play of BO reforms in Liberia. It aims to identify specific gaps in beneficial ownership (BO) implementation and make context-specific recommendations on how Liberia can advance beneficial ownership reforms. The findings of the scoping study are not only useful in providing a clear picture of Liberia’s BOT journey, but will enable Open Ownership (OO), as technical partner in the Opening Extractives programme (OE), to pinpoint priority areas where technical guidance is most needed, and provide tailored technical support throughout the implementation of the programme.

Using the nine principles of effective BO disclosure, we have conducted an assessment of the BO landscape in Liberia, and highlighted gaps that exist in its implementation. This will assist the Liberian government to prioritise its BO implementation efforts, and channel its resources towards activities that are necessary to establish an effective BO disclosure regime.

Our assessment of Liberia’s BO state of play reveals that Liberia is an early implementer of BO reforms, and whilst the recently amended Associations Law creates a legal premise for implementing BO reforms, there are gaps in the legislative framework. To effectively address these gaps, Liberia should prioritise its efforts and resources on establishing a robust regulatory framework to address the identified gaps in the Associations Law and create an enabling regulatory environment for BO reforms to thrive.

An effective beneficial ownership regulation will be instrumental in:

a) strengthening the definition of beneficial ownership;

b) establishing thresholds for declaring entities and persons;

c) expanding the obligation to keep up to date beneficial information records to an obligation to disclose such records to the Liberia Business Registry;

d) prescribing the periods when disclosures should be made; and,

e) specifying the information on the beneficial owners that should be collected and declared.

A BO regulation will also form a premise for the development of a user-friendly BO declaration form. In the following sections of this report, we will examine these gaps in Liberia’s BO regime in more detail and make practical recommendations on how Liberia can advance its BO implementation.

Next page: Methodology and Report Structure