A joint team of Bank of Ghana (BoG) officials and the police on Tuesday arrested 76 suspected illegal black market operators in a special operation within the Central Business District of Accra.
The suspected operators of the foreign exchange (forex) parallel market were apprehended at various hotspots, including Rawlings Park, Tudu, Cowlane, Circle, Kinbu, Timber Market and Lava.
The special operation was part of the BoG’s overall strategy of sanitising the foreign exchange market to ensure compliance with Ghana’s foreign exchange laws and regulations.
The Police would prosecute the apprehended persons, and the BoG urged the public to avoid patronising the services of underground-economy operators and desist from engaging in foreign exchange business without a license.
“The general public must always trade with the Bank of Ghana licensed forex bureau,” a briefing note for the press said.
According to Section 3(1) of the Foreign Exchange Act, 2006 (Act 723), “A person shall not engage in the business of dealing in foreign exchange without a license”.
Section 29 (1a) of the Act further states that “A person who engages in the business of dealing in foreign exchange; without a licence commits an offence and is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of not more than seven hundred penalty units or a term of imprisonment of not more than eighteen months, or both”.
The BoG further cautioned against pricing, advertising, paying, or receiving payment for goods and services in foreign currency in Ghana as the sole legal tender in Ghana is the Ghana Cedi and Ghana Pesewa.
“It is an offence punishable by law. Such violations are punishable, on summary conviction, by a fine of; up to 700 penalty units or a prison term of not more than 18 months, or both” the statement read.
As part of complementary measures to ensure compliance with Ghana’s foreign exchange laws and regulations, the bank said it would enforce compliance of taking customer identification (Ghana card) and issuance of electronic receipt for every forex transaction.
It also intends to intensify public sensitisation and media engagements to educate the public on forex rules and regulations, including the need to; avoid the illegal market.
“Members of the public are encouraged to report all foreign exchange violations.”