The European Union Commission has announced that the country will be taken off the list of countries that are deficient in the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing, a statement from the communication directorate of the Presidency has said.
This follows a meeting between President Akufo-Addo and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, in Brussels, Belgium, last week – where the EU acknowledged efforts the country has made in implementing the action plan of the International Country Risk Guide (ICRG) requirement.
The move means Ghana will further be taken off the list of high-risk third world countries with strategic deficiencies in Anti-Money Laundering and Countering of Terrorism Financing (AML/CFT) of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, after its June 2021 review.
The European Union (EU) in May 2020 placed Ghana on the list of countries that is seen as posing significant threat to the financial system of the Union, after it failed to meet some requirements earlier in the year. But due to the global pandemic, the Union suspended enforcement of the list but has confirmed it entered into full force beginning October 1, 2020.
Following this, there were reports that the EU has placed restrictions and/or bans on certain government or private transactions with the Union as one of the consequences that comes with being on the list.
However, in an exclusive interview with the B&FT, Ambassador Acconcia clarified misconceptions surrounding the issue, saying the country made it to the list because it had already been classified by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as among Jurisdictions Under Increased Monitoring – otherwise known as the ‘grey list’, which essentially alerts financial institutions in the EU to conduct more due diligence on companies coming from countries on that list.
According to information published on the website of FATF, the country has made some progress in its AML/CFT regime but should work hard in: implementing a comprehensive national AML/CFT Policy based on the risks identified in the National Risk Assessment (NRA), including measures to mitigate ML/TF risks associated with the legal persons; and improving risk-based supervision, by enhancing the capacity of regulators and awareness of the private sector.
The rest include ensuring timely access to adequate, accurate and current basic and beneficial ownership information; ensuring that the Financial Intelligence Centre is focusing its activities on the risks identified in the NRA and adequately resourced; and applying a risk-based approach for monitoring non-profit organisations.