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Business News of Monday, 19 November 2012

Source: B&FT

Bankers commend BoG

The Chartered Institute of Bankers, Ghana, CIB (Gh)), has commended the Bank of Ghana’s Financial Intelligence Unit and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning for working tirelessly to remove Ghana from the blacklist of countries thought to have inefficient systems for counter-terrorism financing and anti-money laundering.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global body, blacklisted Ghana for almost a year for failing to institute adequate measures in its financial services sector to check money-laundering and identify funding of terrorist activities. The country’s systems were thought to be inefficient and that they could aid money-laundering activities and terrorist financing across the globe.

The de-listing follows high-level political commitment exhibited by the country to fight money laundering and counter-terrorist financing.

The FATF got tough on Ghana following the insurgence of terrorist activities in West Africa by groups such as Al Queada, Boko Haram and Al Shabab.

The task force in February this year blacklisted Ghana among the 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 CIB (Gh) is therefore happy that Ghanaian authorities did not rest on their oars but went straight into action to institute the right systems, procedures and regulations that ensured Ghana’s quick exit from the group.

The Institute also commends banks and other financial institutions in the country for instituting internal controls, following the Bank of Ghana regulations on money laundering, with some banks going the extra mile to procure appropriate software to fight money laundering and terrorist financing.

Blacklisting Ghana posed a lot of challenges to Ghanaian banks as most international financial institutions feared doing business with their peers in the country in the belief that their dealings would be frozen on the back of the country’s relaxed attitude toward anti-money laundering (AML) and Counter Terrorists Financing (CTF).

Some international banks that acted as correspondent banks to local ones also stopped doing business with them, while others increased the costs of transaction to Ghanaian banks.

In this light, the CIB (Gh) will roll out a number of practical training programmes and workshops aimed at creating awareness and efficient adherence to KYC/CDD framework and procedures by financial institutions.

It is pertinent to note that FATF will monitor the progress of the measures implemented and technologies adopted by financial institutions, and there will be a further inspection in 2013.

It is our hope that the systems put in place will continue to be improved so that in the long-run Ghana can once again lead the way in Africa in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.

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