Ghana safe from money laundering activities – FIC

The EU said there was a need to put an end to dirty money infiltrating its financial system.

The Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) has assured investors and the business community that the country is safe from the activities of Money Laundering (ML) and Terrorist Financing (TF).

The CEO of the centre, Kwaku Dua, told the Daily Graphic that adequate measures had been put in place to ensure that criminals did not use Ghana as a conduit to either launder money or engage in the financing of terrorism acts.

Mr Dua has, therefore, asked investors and businesses to feel free to move funds into and out of the country using the banks and the financial system.

Speaking to the paper after the European Union removed the country from its ‘grey list’ of countries with strategic deficiencies in their Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter Terrorism Financing (CTF) regimes, Mr Dua said the action was long overdue as it was a predicate to an earlier one by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
FATF, a global watchdog on AML/CTF, removed Ghana from its watch-list in June last year after it was satisfied that strategic measures had been put in place to ward off the two practices.

Action plan

The CEO of FIC explained that the centre had, since 2018, collaborated with the government through the Ministry of Finance and other international stakeholders to develop and implement an action plan that helped to strengthen existing legislations and enhanced the capacity of stakeholders and staff to identify, report and analyse suspicious transactions and acts.

Those, he said, had boosted the confidence of international bodies in the country's AML/CTF regime, resulting in Ghana being removed from the FATF watch-list in June and the EU’s ‘grey list’ this January.

Growing confidence

Mr Dua said the EU’s action was the last impediment to financial transactions into the country and should now bolster confidence in the country’s AML/CTF regime, leading to increased investment inflows.

He mentioned the banks and other financial institutions as the immediate beneficiaries of the action.

“It means that the extra checks and due diligence that transactions from and into Ghana were subjected to by European banks and investors will no longer be there. It also means that the sanctions and pressures that were on the banks are now completely erased and they can go about their business freely.

“In totality, this shows that there is sanity in our system and that is really a confidence booster because being on that list kills confidence and now that we are off it, investments can flow freely,” he said.

Bankers welcome

In an earlier interview, bankers welcomed the country’s removal from the EU ‘grey list’, describing it as the last leg of additional due diligence, hurdles and inconvenience that their transactions and relationships with foreign counterparts and customers had been subjected to.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Association of Bankers (GAB), Mr John Awuah, told the paper at the weekend that news of the removal came as a big relief to the banks and the financial sector in general.

Beyond creating convenience for banks and financial institutions, Mr Awuah said he was optimistic that the action would also boost the confidence of their partners and customers to deepen their business relations, leading to increased inflows of funds and investments.

“When you are on the EU ‘grey list’, all your transactions are subjected to extra and enhanced due diligence. This brings delays and creates inconvenience.

“We also have partners and relationships with foreign banks and because we were on the EU ‘blacklist’, those relationships had to undergo rigorous scrutiny.

“Again, we have corresponding banks and whenever we go for reviews, they assess our compliance with rules and regulations, including those on AML/CTF and if the country is on the list, the presumption is that we are not doing something right,” Mr Awuah said.

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