The Ghana Financial Intelligence Centre (GFIC) has been admitted into the Egmont Group.

It is amongst the eight new members and the only Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) from GIABA member States admitted at the recent 22nd Egmont Plenary holding in Lima, Peru.

This brings membership of the Egmont Group across the world to 147 FIUs. The Toronto-based Egmont Group is the global network of Financial Intelligence Units.

Egmont Group is a global network of financial intelligence units that aims at providing a forum for FIUs around the world to improve cooperation in the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism and to foster the implementation of domestic programs in this field.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Financial Intelligence Centre, Mr Samuel Thompson Essel, told that the GFIC was admitted after passing rigorous criteria set by the Egmont Group. He said Ghana’s admission into the group would strengthen the GFIC and put it in a better stead to fight money laundering and other financial crimes.

“We are now part of a network of other financial intelligence groups across the world,” he said. “This will help us share information and also give information.”

He said the GFIC would make good use of its membership of the Egmond Group to help fight financial crimes across borders. According to him, members of the group can share information about cases that relate to member countries.

“As a member of the Group, the GFIC can rely on its counterparts in other countries for information relating to investigations being done here. In the same way, a country in Europe or any part of the world can rely on the GFIC to provide information on a local transaction which is being investigated there,” he said.

Mr Samuel Thompson Essel said this among other proactive measures put in place by the GFIC, have made it difficult for money launderers and other financial criminals to operate in Ghana.

The Egmond group was established in 1995 at the Egmont Arenberg Palace in Brussels, Belgium and its main objective is to promote the development of FIUs and cooperate on information exchange among its members in support of the global Anti- Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CTF) efforts.

The Egmont Group status confers on GFIC all the benefits of Egmont membership, including unfettered access to a wide range of information through the Egmont Secure Web (ESW) in support of national and global AML/CFT campaign.

The Ghana Financial Intelligence Centre (the Centre) was established under Section 4 of the Anti Money Laundering Act, 2008 (Act 749) as a corporate body to receive, analyze and disseminate financial intelligence in Ghana and abroad. The Centre started operations on 4th January 2010.

One of the main aims of the Centre is to break the cycle used by organised criminal groups to benefit from illegitimate profits could be achieved. By doing this, the Act and Regulations aim to maintain the integrity of the financial system.

The regulatory regime of the AML legislations imposes on accountable institutions the responsibility to apply comprehensive customer due diligence on both existing and prospective clients, record-keeping and reporting obligations. It also requires accountable institutions to develop and implement internal rules to facilitate compliance with these obligations.