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Financial institutions in Ghana directed to appoint anti-money laundering reporting officers

All financial institutions including banks and non-banks in Ghana have been directed to appoint an anti-money laundering reporting officer, according to a new guideline on anti-money laundering put together by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC).

The guideline “Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism Guideline” which was launched January 3, 2012 states that the directive is in accordance with Regulation 5(1) of L.I.1987.

“Each financial institution shall appoint a person of senior status as an anti-money laundering reporting officer (AML/CFT Reporting Officer – AMLRO) in accordance with Regulation 5(1) of L.I.1987 and such an officer shall receive suspicious or unusual transaction reports from persons handling transactions for the financial institution,” text of the guideline says.

It adds “Each anti-money laundering reporting officer shall be equipped with the relevant competence, authority and independence to implement the institution’s AML/CFT compliance programme.”

The guideline listed the duties of the AML Reporting Officer and they include the following:

1. Developing an AML/CFT Compliance Programme;

2. Receiving and vetting suspicious transaction reports from staff;

3. Filing suspicious transaction reports with the FIC;

3. Ensuring that the financial institution’s compliance programme is implemented;

4. Co-ordinating the training of staff in AML/CFT awareness, detection methods and reporting requirements;

5. Serving both as a liaison officer with the BOG and the FIC and a point-of-contact for all employees on issues relating to money laundering and terrorist financing.

Every financial institution shall ensure that the anti-money laundering reporting officer has access to other information that may be of assistance to the anti-money laundering reporting officer in consideration of a suspicious or unusual transaction report, the guideline indicates.

Meanwhile, the FIC of Ghana will be signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with its Cameroonian counterpart on information sharing relating to money laundering, the FIC’s acting Chief Executive Officer Mr Samuel Essel Thompson has indicated.

Ghana has similar collaborations with Burkina Faso and Togo.

By Ekow Quandzie

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