… offenders to be severely sanctioned
All financial institutions, especially commercial banks, in the country are being investigated over money transfer breaches by the central bank, Philip Danso, Chief Manager at the Bank of Ghana’s Banking Supervision Department has said.
According to him, a very comprehensive work is being embarked upon as the various countries where the transfers ended up will be contacted to double-check every paper-trail that is associated with all the monies transferred.
Speaking to the B&FT after the first quarter session of the CEOs’ Breakfast Meeting, organised by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) on Technology Transfer Agreement (TTA), Mr. Danso said: “What I know is that, for now, stakeholder institutions are investigating a lot of transactions which involve money transfer. The investigations comprise under-documentation, understated values without proper documentation or without documentation at all.
“The Financial Intelligence Centre and Ghana Revenue Authority, with leadership from the Bank of Ghana, are looking at all these infractions. We can assure the public that any entity, licenced by the Bank of Ghana or not, found culpable will face criminal actions,” he said.
Mr. Danso had earlier delivered a presentation on the implications of transferring funds without a registered Technology Transfer Agreement (TTA). He said funds that were transferred under TTAs and were not registered will attract sanctions when evidence of such transactions becomes available to the central bank.
Under the GIPC’s legislation, a TTA refers to an agreement between a company in Ghana (Transferee) and a company outside Ghana, related or non-related (Transferor), for a duration of an initial 18 months to 10 years and renewable for 18 months to five years. The agreement involves assignment, sale and licencing of all forms of industrial property such as patents, industrial designs, trademarks or the provision of technical expertise by a foreign company to a locally-based company.
It also involves the provision of managerial services and know-how: such as information, data whether patentable or not – including technical or commercial information relating to research, design, development manufacture, use or sale and personnel training.
Need for enforcement
The nation is currently on a European Union (EU) money laundering blacklist, a move that is not only tarnishing the country’s image but also restraining some international transactions among financial players. As a result, measures are being taken to sanitise the financial sector and ensure conformity to high global standards.
Background of EU’s action
The European Union on May 7, 2020 announced that it had placed 12 countries on the list of places with weakness or deficiencies in Anti Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Laws. These included the Bahamas, Barbados, Botswana, Cambodia, Ghana, Jamaica, Mauritius, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Panama and Zimbabwe. In Ghana’s situation, the action or directive was supposed to kick-in from October 2020.
According to the EU, the weaknesses identified in those countries pose a serious risk to their financial systems – hence the action which was based on recommendations from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
Ghana’s Finance Ministry, later in the statement, described the action as surprising and unfortunate; especially when government claimed they had already put in steps to address all the issues identified by the FATF. The action came with some scrutiny for banks in Ghana dealing with their counterparts in Europe.
Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Ernest Addison, recently noted that the action impacted negatively on some banks.
Finance Minister on reviewing the blacklist
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta – during his vetting, noted that based on his conversations with officials of the task force, they seemed satisfied with measures taken by government and will soon be removing Ghana from the list. Mr. Ofori-Atta however disclosed that this will be after they come for a final review, which should happen in the coming days.
Philip Danso, Chief Manager at the Banking Supervision Department, BoG