Sierra Leone Telegraph: 18 May 2020:
As Sierra Leone’s exchange rates against major global currencies continue to fall, the governor of the country’s Central Bank – Kelfala M. Kallon, has issued another stern warning to those trading in foreign currencies illegally.
In March this year, Kallon gave an ultimatum to all street forex vendors to regularise their opertions 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 Pond, due largely to the massive fall in mining exports revenue and the country’s inability to locally produce much of what it consumes.
Announcing the new measures to fight illegal foreign currency trading, 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 last weeK:
“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 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 after conviction with a fine of Le100 Million or be imprisoned for a term not less than three years or both.