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Central Bank, FIC to introduce new trends to combat 'Sakawa'

Activities of computer fraudsters locally referred to as 'Sakawa' could soon come to an end as the Financial Intelligence Center (FIC) and Central Bank are stepping in to combat their operations.

The two organizations’ efforts are geared towards avoiding a possible blacklisting of the country for money laundering.

According to FIC, the exercise will deal more with individuals with a questionable source of income.

Head of Audit and Risk Management Department of the Centre, Emmanuel Mensah told Joy News there are several cases they are currently looking into regarding money laundering.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a training programme on the latest trends in money laundering and how to combat it Wednesday.

He said in tackling Sakawa, FIC together with the Bank of Ghana (BoG), will be mapping out certain geographical areas where those practices are rampant.

“FIC has worked with the banks and other financial institutions to know where those involved in it hide their monies," he said adding that is why the financial services undertake risk analysis of potential clients. 

Mr Mensah disclosed that his department has been working with FIC to focus on the money laundering aspect of crimes perpetrated.

“So if somebody steals money through corruption, after prosecution, the person should also be prosecuted for money laundering if any of it has taken place,” he added.

According to him, the law enforcement agency and the judiciary are receiving training to ensure that money laundering features strongly in the country’s jurisprudence.

He said this is necessary for fear that the international financial community will label the country for not enforcing anti-money laundering mechanisms, which will make many international institutions to stop dealing with Ghana.

Consequently, “if an international bank wants to do business with a Ghanaian bank, it has to go through a long and costly process, which will reduce our level of development,” he noted.

According to Mr Mensah, Ghana’s big informal sector is not helping issues because a lot of physical cash is used for daily transactions are not questioned.

Supporting the initiative, president of the Association of Capital Market and Money Laundering, Samuel Paa Kwesi Afful, said their members recognize the negative impact money laundering will have on the country. 

He assured they are ready to assist the bank of Ghana and the FIC to arrest perpetrators.