Ghana Exits Money-laundering Blacklist

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

Ghana News Headlines

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Ghana has been excluded from the group of countries blacklisted for inefficient systems that aid money laundering activities and terrorist financing across the globe.

This follows the “high-level political commitment” exhibited by the country to fight money laundering and counter terrorist financing, the blacklisting body, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), has said.

The FATF is a global inter-governmental body committed to the fight against money laundering and financing of terrorists groups such as Al Queada, Boko Haram and Al Shabab.

The task force in February this year blacklisted Ghana among a group of countries seen with weak legal and institutional frameworks in combatting money laundering and terrorist financing in the sub-region and the globe at large.

The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, said this in Accra on Thursday when he told the press that the country could now heave a sigh of relief from the negative implications of being tagged as a nation that supported money laundering and terrorists financing.

“It was a perception and that caused the FATF to blacklist us. Now that our name has been taken off, there will not be a turning back,” the minister stressed and called on his colleague ministers and other institutions to collaborate in the fight against the canker.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Intelligence Agency (FIC), Mr Samuel Thompson Essel, announced that the cost of blacklisting Ghana had risen considerably as most international financial institutions feared doing business with their peers in the country, believing that their dealings would be frozen on the back of the country’s relaxed attitude to anti-money laundering (AML) and counter terrorists financing (CTF).

The Managing Director of Barclays Bank of Ghana Limited, Mr Benjamin Dabrah, confirmed the development, saying “some financial institutions even failed to honour letters of credit as a result of the blacklisting.”

“The blacklisting truly affected the financial sector. Some international banks that acted as correspondent banks to local ones stopped doing business with them while others increased the cost of transactions,” Mr Dabrah explained.

“The banks that continued to do business with their local counterparts often undertook a thorough scrutiny of the various transactions and that unnecessarily delayed business and increased the cost,” he added.

Money laundering occurs when proceeds of crime or fraud are concealed through series of processes, mostly through financial institutions, to look genuine.

Terrorist financing, on the other hand, is when individuals and/or institutions fund the activities and operations of groups listed by the United States of America as terrorists.

With Ghana’s name now expunged from the list, the costs and time line of financial transactions between individuals and institutions in the country and their counterparts abroad is expected to reduce.

Story: Maxwell Adombila Akalaare