The Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), the institution mandated to combat Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing, has urged stakeholders to help consolidate the gains the country made in the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) reforms.
Speaking at a day’s sensitization workshop for banking sector professionals on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing, the Chief Executive Officer of FIC, Kwaku Dua, said the country had completed the Action Plan (AP) of the International Co-operation Review Group (ICRG) of the Financial Action Taskforce to combat money laundering.
“Even though Ghana has completed its AP, it is important that all stakeholders continue to work hard to consolidate the gains brought by the reforms in our Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism regime,” he said.
Ghana was recently placed on the FATF grey list as a result of some deficiencies identified in the country Anti-Money Laundering regime during its second round of Mutual Evaluation Report.
Subsequently, an action plan was drawn with timelines by the ICRG to complete or risk being placed on the FATF blacklist with all its adverse effects on the economy.
The ICRG of the FATF is the technical committee of a group charged with the responsibility of identifying, reviewing and monitoring the progress of jurisdictions with strategic AML/CFT deficiencies that present a risk t the international financial system.
Following FATF’s action, the European Union also decided to place Ghana on their list of third countries with strategic deficiencies in the AML/FCT regime.
Mr Dua said FIC took the challenge and with the support of the relevant stakeholders executed AP even ahead of time.
He said the ICRG FATF process was a difficult one and therefore appealed to all stakeholders not to rest on their oars but continue to work hard so that “Ghana did not go back to where we came from,” adding that “it’s been quite an arduous journey and we have to ensure that we do not get back to where we came from.”
Mr Dua said the recently held Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money laundering in West Africa (GIABA) Plenary in Lome, Togo (from May 16-21,2021), GIABA commended Ghana’s efforts and hoped that it would serve as a sources of inspiration to other member states in the sub-region.
“It is to be noted that, Ghana is the first country in the sub-region to have gone through the Second Round of Mutual Evaluation and completed the ICRG process in record time,” the FIC CEO said.
He said as part of the ICRG processes and procedures, a team was in the country in May 2021 to conduct an onsite assessment based on which a final decision would be taken during the middle of this month during FAFT plenary meeting.
Mr Dua said work must go on unabated to reap the benefits of the action plan, saying the workshop was only part of a series of capacity building programmes lined up, all to help strengthen the AML/CFT regime.
He commended all the stakeholders for the roles played and advised that they kept the momentum.
Mr Dua commended the Ministry of Finance and for that matter, the government, for the support and political commitment exhibited during the exercise.
The Head of Financial Integrity Office of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Mr George Nkrumah, said the BoG was collaborating with other regulators such as the National Insurance Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission to develop rules and regulations to combat money laundering.
He entreated players in the banking, insurance and securities sector to strictly go by the Anti-Money Laundering Act and report people who use their medium to engage in money laundering.