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General News of Friday, 15 November 2013

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Vicky can seek a court injunction to restrain FIC - Kwesi Pratt

Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jnr. is urging former deputy Minister of Communication, Victoria Hammah to seek a court injunction to restrain the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) from checking her bank accounts.

FIC in pursuant of Section 28 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2008 (Act 749) has written to all banks in the country requesting for information relating to Ms. Hammah’s private accounts.

In a letter dated November 13, 2013 and signed by the Chief Executive Officer of the statutory organization, Samuel Thompson Essel, stated that Victoria Hammah is under "security notice."

Victoria Hammah was relieved of her post last Friday after the content of a leaked tape which had a voice purported to be hers, went viral.

She is heard on the tape nursing an ambition to make one million dollars in politics.

Ms. Hammah’s ambition of making $1million though not explicitly stated in FIC’s letter might have triggered the audit.

But speaking on Peace FM’s morning show Kokrokoo Friday, Kwesi Pratt said FIC’s decision to check the financial records of Ms. Hammah amounted to invasion of her privacy.

According to him, if Ms. Hammah is not guilty of any act of money laundering or financing terrorism, then checking her bank accounts is a breach of her fundamental human rights.

“If I was her, I will place an injunction on the banks and FIC so that they cannot proceed any further,” he stressed.

Mr. Pratt who is against the “sweepy powers” given to FIC by Parliament said: “I think it is important to look at the powers and work of Financial Intelligence Centre to know whether it is beneficial to Ghanaians”.

The senior journalist believes if the power given to FIC is not reviewed, it could be abused and everyone, irrespective of their status in society, could fall victim.

“As a citizen of Ghana, my worry is about the potential abuse of that centre in future,” he added.

Kwesi Pratt advised the FIC not act based on its discretion, rather, “there must be reasonable suspicion otherwise we will be running into all kinds of suspicion”.