Business leaders across several economic sectors have come together to help remove Ghana from the European Union’s list of countries with weak anti money laundering and terrorism financing systems.
On May 11, 2020, the European Commission listed Ghana and eleven other countries as having lapses in the country’s AML and CFT regimes – thus posing significant threats to the European Union’s financial system.
However, after talks with President Nana Akufo-Addo, the EU acknowledged Ghana’s efforts in implementing the action plan of the International Country Risk Guide (ICRG) in record time. These efforts span various sectors of the economy such as the banking and real estate industries.
In the banking sector, banks have introduced measures such as Customer Due Diligence (CDD) to control and identify potential money laundering activities and terrorist financing risks carried by customers. Also, banks introduced data analytics measures to identify questionable patterns as well as develop client models, tier potential risks, and incorporate daily negative news alerts.
Although the real estate industry was also identified as one of the sectors where money is laundered, the industry has also contributed significantly to Ghana’s rehabilitation by introducing some stringent measures in the real estate industry. These include the introduction of structured training for agents to easily spot and identify potential money launders, among others.
In the area of entertainment, industry watchers say market-leader Betway introduced the ID-authentication factor for its users. The introduction of these measures makes Betway the first and only gaming entity to close-in on gaps in the industry.
Expressing his thoughts on their contribution, Country Manager for Betway Ghana, Magnus Rex Danquah II, noted that Betway introduced stricter measures to enhance KYCs – including a registration field that requires the verification of a national ID card, mobile money number, pin number, a SIM card registered with the National ID, a card number and a bank account number.
“We put up a new registration field, so you need to verify all these before you can even set up an account with us – and most importantly, these cards and ID numbers must match. The system does not allow you to have one ID card for registration and a different one for receiving funds.”
Mr. Danquah noted that Betway has also invested in teams which monitor and verify every single account in the database. “We are integrated with the software providers for banks, who provide a system for ID card verification just as is done in the banks. So, we no longer piggyback it from the Telcos; we work on it directly,” he revealed.
Other measures worth noting include record-keeping and capacity-building for staff who have been trained to work hand-in-hand with the FIC.
Betway’s swift response in introducing these measures, and other government interventions, have gone a long way to convince the FIC and EU of Ghana’s preparedness and readiness to kick out money laundering – and thus justify Ghana’s exclusion from countries with high levels of deficiency in Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter Terrorist Financing (CTF) regimes.