… on-site testing scheduled for May
All is set for Ghana to be removed from the European Union’s (EUs) list of countries with high levels of deficiencies in their Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter Terrorist Financing (CTF) regimes, Head, Financial Stability at the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr. Joseph France, has disclosed.
This comes after the European Commission (EC) in May of 2020, placed Ghana on its ‘grey list of third countries,’ suggesting that lapses in the country’s AML and CFT regimes have resulted in the nation posing significant threats to the European Union’s financial system.
But speaking on the theme ‘Money laundering and Ghana’s Financial Sector: State of Play’ at the UPSA Law School Quarterly Banking Roundtable, Dr. France insisted that despite missing on the initial target of the first quarter of this year, all necessary requirements have been met in addressing deficiencies in its AML and CTF regimes.
He added that the country is practically off the list pending a series of on-site tests scheduled for May this year.
“We are partially off the list because on the part of the country we have done what we have to with the International Corporation Review Group (ICRG), that is, when you are placed in the high risk bracket, the institution that oversees your processes and they are satisfied with us and they have in turn presented this to the FATF plenary that we are substantially off, subject to FATF coming on-site to Ghana to test our system to see if what we presented is truly a reflection of what is on the ground,” he explained.
He added that for the gains to be consolidated, a lot hinges on the success of sensitising the general public as to how money laundering does not just affect a particular section of people, but has a bearing on the economic fortunes of all persons resident in the country.
“The biggest thing that we need to do is sensitization. People should be aware of what money laundering is all about, when to pick the red flags and what to do… Uncertainty abounds in Ghana because, unfortunately, many of us are not as financially or technologically savvy. But even if this is the case, if we are awakened to the nature of these infractions and what to look out more, it will minimise the risk of being used by launderers.”
Other speakers at the event, which was the third installment in the series, were Chief Risk Officer at Absa Bank, Adolph Kpegah and Head of Conduct, Financial Crime and Compliance at Standard Chartered Bank, Michael Oseku-Afful.
They both agreed that it is erroneous to assume an aggressive AML/CFT campaign will adversely affect innovation in the financial sector, saying that money laundering undermines the financial system and the gains from a more robust system far outstrip any temporal inconveniences.