Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Mrs. Elsie Awadzie, has called on security agencies to help the Bank clamp down on illegal forex market operators, also known as the black market, in a move to slow down the cedi’s fast depreciation.
Speaking at a sensitisation workshop in Accra for members of the Committee for Cooperation between the Law Enforcement Agencies and Banking Community (COCLAB), the deputy governor condemned the influx of black market operators in the forex market – an activity that she argues has contributed significantly to weakness of the local currency against major trading currencies.
Mrs. Awadzie said the regulator is doing its best to straighten out licenced operators of the forex market but it cannot do so alone – as it needs collaboration and support from security agencies to stamp out the market’s illegal forex dealers.
“Support the Bank of Ghana’s efforts to sanitise the forex bureau sector by strictly enforcing existing rules for the fair and transparent conduct of business by licenced forex bureaus and clamping down on illegal forex operators – the black market. While the Bank of Ghana regulates the forex bureau sector, we rely heavily on your criminal investigation and enforcement powers.
“So, my heartfelt plea to you is: please help us to do something about this. We count on your cooperation, especially now more than ever to help restore order and prevent the cedi’s further depreciation,” she said.
Revival of COCLAB
COCLAB has its membership drawn from the Bank of Ghana, Ghana Association of Banks, the Judiciary, Attorney General’s Office, Ministry of Interior, National Security Secretariat, Economic and Organised Crime Office, Financial Intelligence Centre, National Investigations Bureau, Ghana Police Service, Ghana Immigration Service, Ghana Revenue Authority, Registrar-General’s Department and the National Communications Authority.
The Committee was set up to address issues bordering on financial crimes in the financial sector through information sharing and strategies.
Commenting on the Committee’s revival, the deputy governor highlighted its relevance – saying its operations are integral to confidence in the financial sector and growth of the economy.
“The Committee’s work is more critical now than ever. Combatting financial crimes through information sharing and strategies to help prevent financial crime, by working closely together to investigate and prosecute breaches of relevant laws against perpetrators of these crimes, is essential to building a healthy and resilient economy and nation.
“Financial crimes in all its forms, including money laundering, terrorist financing, fraud – whether through offline or cyber-related means – siphoning and diversion of funds through the financial system by insiders to related parties and all other types erode integrity in the financial system, and thus destroys the confidence and trust that the Ghanaian public and our foreign enterprise repose in it.
“This has adverse ramifications for our economy: such as a reduction of saving and investment in our formal financial system and reductions in international trade facilities and foreign investment flows which support the economy,” she said.
She urged members of COCLAB to identify and proffer solutions to deal with the menace, as this is critical to sanitising the financial sector.