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Global standards body blacklists Ghana for money-laundering

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…country cited for not meeting international standards despite efforts

Ghana today February 16, 2012 has been blacklisted as a money-laundering nation for failing to meet international standards by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global standard setting body for anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism (AML/CFT).

According to the money-laundering watchdog’s report, Ghana was flouting recommendations made to it towards the fight against the menace even though the country has taken steps towards improving its AML/CFT regime including ratifying the UN Convention on Transnational Organised Crime.

Ghana together with Pakistan, Indonesia, Tanzania and Thailand were the new countries the FATF added to its blacklist of nations today.

Despite Ghana’s high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) to address its strategic AML/CFT deficiencies, the body said “Ghana has not made sufficient progress in implementing its action plan, and certain strategic AML/CFT deficiencies remain.”

The FATF urged the country to work on implementing its action plan to address these deficiencies, including by “adequately criminalising money laundering and terrorist financing; establishing and implementing adequate measures for the confiscation of funds related to money laundering; establishing a fully operational and effectively functioning Financial Intelligence Unit and establishing and implementing adequate procedures to identify and freeze terrorist assets.”

“The FATF encourages Ghana to address its remaining deficiencies and continue the process of implementing its action plan,” it added.

Ghana’s central bank governor, Mr. Kwesi Amissah-Arthur January 4,  2012 at the launch of AML/CFT for banks and non-bank financial institutions in Accra said despite efforts at tackling money laundering, Ghana lags behind and it attracts negative rating.

In spite of initiatives to fight the menace, Amissah-Arthur said,  “Ghana still lags behind other countries and attracts negative rating from global and regional agencies responsible for setting standards in AML/CFT issues.”

At the same event, the Ghana Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) disclosed that since the start of its operations January 4, 2010, it has received a total of 206 suspicious transaction reports (STRs) worth $6 million.

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).

By Ekow Quandzie

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