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West African judges attend seminar on money laundering in Accra

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A seminar on Economic and Financial Crimes for Judges of the English speaking countries in West Africa, began in Accra on Monday with a reminder that the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing are important for all countries.
    
Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrissu, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, said money laundering afforded drug traffickers, persons engaged in human trafficking, illegal arms dealers, terrorists, and persons engaged in corruption, tax evaders and other criminals the avenue to operate.
    
The five-day seminar is organised by the Inter-governmental Action group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) to formulate strategies for the judiciary in combating corruption and financial and economic crimes.
    
Mrs Mould-Iddrissu said money laundering was an act to conceal the identity of illegally obtained money, making proceeds appeared to have originated from legitimate sources.
    
She said this illegal act was often linked to large scale looting from public coffers by corrupt public officials.
    
Mrs Iddrisu stated that the act undermined the private sector, caused lack of control of economic policies and capital flight, loss of government revenue and economic distortion and further promoted corruption and led to an increase in crime in general.
    
“It affects the national reputation, corrupts the financial system and undermines social values,” she said, adding that “money laundering demonstrates that crime pays”.
    
The Minister said Anti-Money Laundering legislation placed a responsibility on people who worked in institutions to report not just when they knew or suspected that another person was engaged in money laundering, but where there were reasonable grounds to suspect that a transaction was linked to the laundering of criminal proceeds.
    
Mrs Mould-Iddrisu said globalization had compounded the complexity of detecting money laundering because of the global economy, adding that the economic circumstances in one country could affect the economic circumstances of another country far away.
    
She advised judges dealing with money laundering cases to reveal the trail to link the tainted funds to criminal activity and convict the perpetrators.
    
The Minister said Ghana had prepared an Anti-Corruption Manual that was a comparative analysis of the anti-corruption laws in Ghana with the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption.

Source: GNA

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