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 is important for all stakeholders to continue working hard to consolidate the gains brought by the reforms in our Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime.
He disclosed that the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) process is a difficult one, and therefore appealed that all stakeholders not rest on their oars but continue working hard so that Ghana does not get back to where we came from. “It’s been quite an arduous journey, and we have to ensure that we do not get back to where we came from,” he said.
It will be recalled that Ghana was placed on the Financial Action Task Force ‘grey list’ as a result of some deficiencies identified in its Anti-Money Laundering regime during its Second Round of Mutual Evaluation Report (MER).
An Action Plan was drawn for it with timelines by the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) to complete, or risk being placed on the FATF blacklist with all its adverse effects on our economy.
The International Cooperation Review Group of the FATF 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.
Following from 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 hoped that it will serve as a source of inspiration to other member-states in the sub-region.
It is to be noted that Ghana is the first country in the sub-region to have gone through the Second Round of Mutual Evaluation, and completed the ICRG Process in record time.
As part of the ICRG Processes and Procedures, a team was in the country during May 2021 to conduct an on-site assessment – based on which a final decision will be taken at the June 2021 FATF Plenary meeting.
In spite of the Action Plan’s completion, the CEO believes that work must go on unabated to reap its benefits. He disclosed that the two workshops are only part of a series of capacity building programmes lined up, all to help strengthen our AML/CFT regime.
He used the opportunity to commend all stakeholders for their various roles played, and advised that they keep up the momentum.
Finally, he commended the Ministry of Finance (MoF) – and for that matter, government – for their support and political commitment exhibited during the exercise. He observed that but for political commitment all efforts would have been in vain, and said he hopes government will continue to show political commitment.