Ghana plans to set up anti-money laundering special unit
Mrs Henrietta Appiah Oppong, Ghana’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General, said the government was conducting feasibility studies on modalities for establishing an Anti-money Laundering Special Control Unit.
The Anti-money Laundering Special Control Unit would form part of a broader proposal for amendment of the Anti-Money Laundering Act.
She said the unit would ensure the compliance of the obligations imposed by law on designated non-financial business and professions.
Mrs Henrietta Oppong said this during the opening of the 19th Plenary Meeting of the Technical Commission of Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) at the Accra International Conference Centre on Thursday.
She said, in 2010, the Government of Ghana made a political commitment to address the money laundering issue raised by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) by introducing drastic measures to enact and amend relevant laws.
She said legislative measures such as the Economic and Organised Crime Office Act 2010, Anti Money Laundering Regulations 2011, Criminal Offences Amendment Act 2012, the Anti-Terrorism Regulations 2012 with many other Executive Instruments were all passed to address the issue of money laundering.
She said the drastic legislative measures, coupled with the full operationalization of the Financial Intelligence Centre, led to the de-listing of Ghana from the FATF Public Statement in an unprecedented record of nine months.
“It is the solemn pledge of the Presidency to continue to give priority to Anti Money Laundry (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) issues, particularly by ensuring the Inter Ministerial Committee on AML/CFT, the Law Enforcement Coordinating Bureau and the Financial Intelligence Centre are well resourced to discharge their responsibilities under the law,” she said.
She said the Chief Justice would soon issue a practice direction on measures to expedite the trial of money laundering and the financing of terrorism, adding, it would give credence to GIABA’s efforts at strengthening the Judiciary in Ghana to enhance prosecution of money laundering.
Mr Samuel Thompson Essel, Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Intelligence Centre, said the West Africa sub-region was being watched by the world for the growing incidence of organised crime, corruption and terrorism with its debilitating effects on peace, security and development.
He, however, said Ghana and and member states in the sub-region were poised to fight transnational organised crime including money laundering, terrorism financing and financing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Mr Essel, who is also the National Coordinator of GIABA, said: “We want to assure everybody that it shall be our legitimate duty to deploy legitimate physical compulsion, backed by law, to deny criminals of proceeds of crime.”
Dr Abdullahi Shehu, Director General of GIABA, commended Ghana for hosting the 19th Plenary Meeting and her commitment to fight money laundering and other transnational economic crime.
He, however, expressed the hope that Ghana would be able to sustain the gains made in the fight against money laundering to serve as a role model to other countries.