Strengthen anti-money laundering regimes — Ken Ofori-Atta

BY: Timothy Ngnenbe
 Ms Abena Osei Asare (right), a Deputy Minister of Finance, administaring the oath of office to the Financial Intelligence  (FIC) Board. Picture: ESTHER ADJEI 
Ms Abena Osei Asare (right), a Deputy Minister of Finance, administaring the oath of office to the Financial Intelligence  (FIC) Board. Picture: ESTHER ADJEI 

The Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) has been tasked to take prudent steps to strengthen the country’s anti-money laundering (AML) regimes.

This will ensure that the country does not return to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list.

The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, said this in a speech read on his behalf by a Deputy Minister of Finance, Mrs Abena Osei Asare, at the inauguration of the FIC Board in Accra yesterday.

The country escaped being blacklisted by the FATF after the task force detected some deficiencies in the country’s AML regimes in 2019.

Following strict adherence to an action plan the FATF drew for the country, with timelines from 2019 to 2021 to address those deficiencies, the country was eventually taken off the list.

According to Mr Ofori-Atta, "the meeting of the FATF action plan, which led to the country being taken off the grey list, has revived confidence in our economy and Ghana being placed on a high pedestal as far as AML regimes are concerned.

"It is my hope that you will continue to work to sustain the gains made, so that we do not go back to where we came from."

Composition of board

The seven-member board is chaired by the immediate past Executive Director of the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) and former Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, Commissioner of Police (COP) Mr Frank Adu-Poku (rtd).

The other members are a former Director of the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB), Mr Kwaku Dua; a Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr John A. Kumah; Director Legal at the Ministry of National Security, Mr Osei Bonsu Dickson, and the Director-General, Intelligence, of the Ghana Police Service, Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Danquah.

The rest are the Director and Head of the Financial Stability Department of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Joseph France, and the Chief Executive of Precious Rental Services, Nana Domtie Onwona-Kwakye.

Mr Ofori-Atta said the new AML Act, 2020 (Act 1044), which had come in to address all loopholes in the previous law, would help the board deliver on its mandate.

The minister assured the board of the government's continued commitment as it took steps to strengthen AML structures in the country.

He commended the FIC for collaborating with revenue authorities to combat tax evasion and other tax crimes over the years.

Assurance

COP Adu-Poku assured the government that the board would bring its varied expertise to bear to consolidate the gains made in AML in the country

He said that notwithstanding the depth of expertise each member had, it was important for them to work together as a unit to achieve results.

"We should commit ourselves as a board to help fight and avoid the menace of money laundering which, if not well controlled, will ultimately lead to blacklisting, with its attendant economic, political and social implications for our dear country," the chairman said.