Ghana rejects EC proposal for inclusion in money-laundering blacklist

Ghana has rejected the European Commission’s (EC) proposal to include the country in its list of high risk jurisdictions with strategic deficiencies in their Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regimes on October 1, 2020.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Finance on Thursday said the decision did not reflect exactly the current status of Ghana’s AML/CFT regime.

“This is unfortunate, and the Government of Ghana is always ready to engage with the EC about the true status of the country’s AML/CFT regime and efforts being made to strengthen same,” the statement said.

The European Commission on May 7, 2020 proposed to the European Union Parliament to add Ghana to its list of high risk third countries with strategic deficiencies in their Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism.

The statement said the European Commission had not engaged Ghana concerning any shortcomings that needed to be addressed nor was the country given the opportunity to implement corrective measures.

“On the contrary, when Ghana’s progress report was being discussed at the last FATF Plenary meetings held in Paris, France on 19th to 21st February, 2020, no adverse comment came from the EC. It is, therefore, a surprise for the EC to mention Ghana as one of the countries to be added to her list of high risk third countries barely three months afterwards,” the statement said.

The statement said the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global standard setting on AML/CFT, has always acknowledged Ghana’s efforts in enhancing its AML/CFT regime at various platforms of which the EC is always represented.

“Just as the methodology used to publish a similar list on February 13, 2019, which was eventually withdrawn due to lack of clarity and transparency in the process of identifying third countries, we consider the methodology used to come up with this new list once again unfortunate,” it said.

The statement said Ghana’s Mutual Evaluation Report by FATF during their plenary meetings in October 2018, identified some strategic deficiencies in the country’s AML/CFT framework, and FATF has worked with Ghana to draw up a two-year Action Plan (2019 -2020) to address same.

It said the country has had periodic face-to-face meetings with the International Country Risk Guide (ICRG) to assess the progress of implementation of the Action Plan.

The last face-to-face meeting was from January 15 to 17, 2020 in Rabat, Morocco.

“It is worth mentioning that, since the action plan was adopted, Ghana has consistently demonstrated a high-level political commitment to implementing the action plan and has always received positive commendations from the FATF,” the statement said.

“Indeed, the International Country Risk Guide (ICRG) in their report to the FATF Plenary meetings in February, 2020 acknowledged that all timelines due have been met and some action items addressed even ahead of their timelines,” it added.

Source: GNA

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