THE FINANCIAL Intelligence Centre (FIC), the institution mandated to combat money laundering and terrorism financing (ML/TF), has said that Ghana will consolidate the gains on the anti-money laundering (AML) reforms.
Speaking at separate sensitisation workshops organised by the centre for the banking and real estate sectors, Chief Executive Officer of the FIC, Kwaku Dua, indicated that, even though Ghana has completed its action plan, it was important that all stakeholders continued to work hard “to consolidate the gains brought by the reforms in our Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime.”
Noting that the International Co-operation Review Group (ICRG) of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) process was a difficult one, he appealed to all stakeholders to continue to work hard so that Ghana would not retrogress. ICRG is the technical committee or group charged with the responsibility of identifying, reviewing, and monitoring the progress of jurisdictions with strategic AML/CFT deficiencies that present a risk to the international financial system.
Ghana was placed on the Financial Action Task Force ‘grey list’ as a result of some deficiencies identified in her anti-money laundering regime during its second round of mutual evaluation report (MER).
An action plan was drawn for her with timelines by the International Co-operation Review Group (ICRG) to complete or risk being placed on the FATF blacklist with all its adverse effects on the economy.
Following FATF’s action, the European Union (EU) also decided to place Ghana on their list of third countries with strategic deficiencies in the AML/CFT regime.
The FIC took up the challenge and with the support of relevant stakeholders, executed the action plan even ahead of time.
At the recently held Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) Plenary in Lome, Togo from May 16-21, 2021, GIABA commended Ghana’s efforts and expressed the hope that it would inspire other member states in the sub-region.
Ghana is the first country in the sub-region to have gone through the second round of mutual evaluation and completing the ICRG process in record time.
As part of the ICRG processes and procedures, a team was in the country in May 2021 to conduct an onsite assessment based on which a final decision is billed to be made at the June 2021 FATF Plenary meeting.
Mr. Dua believes that work must go on unabated to reap the benefits of the action plan.
BY Prince Fiifi Yorke