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Business News of Friday, 2 July 2021

Source: classfmonline.com

Being off FATF gray list 'great relief' – Ofori-Atta

Finance Minister,  Ken Ofori-Atta Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has officially announced that Ghana has been taken off the Financial Action Taskforce’s “gray list” and this will lead to an increased confidence in the integrity of Ghana’s financial environment and a boost in foreign direct investment.

Addressing the media at the Ministry on Wednesday, 30 June 2021, he said this feat was achieved after Ghana had satisfactorily completed her Action Plan after the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) had submitted their report.

“This is great relief for the country, considering the economic consequences suffered by the country while on the list. This will boost confidence in the integrity of our financial environment and also boost foreign direct investment,” he added.

Mr. Ofori-Atta recounted that in 2016, Ghana was subjected to a second round of mutual evaluation by the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing in West Africa (GIABA).

He said though the round of mutual evaluation showed some progress over an earlier one in 2009, there were still significant gaps that needed to be addressed, which led to Ghana being placed under observation by the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG).

The ICRG is one of the technical groups of the FATF charged with the responsibility of identifying, reviewing, and monitoring jurisdictions with Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) deficiencies that present a risk to the international financial system.

According to the Finance Minister, the ICRG and Ghana developed a 2-year Action Plan spanning 2019 to 2021, with timelines, to address the deficiencies.

He added that regrettably, “the European Union also issued a press release on 18th October 2020 adding Ghana to their list of high-risk third countries with strategic deficiencies in their Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime as a result of Ghana being on the FATF list”.

The Minister said further that over the last three years, an Inter-Ministerial Committee led by the Ministry of Finance had been hard at work coordinating key reforms to cure strategic AML/CFT deficiencies.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to congratulate the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), the institution mandated by law to fight money laundering and terrorist financing, for their leadership role in achieving this feat. Let me also thank Hon. Kwaku Kwarteng who managed the process and other deputy ministers” Mr. Ofori-Atta stated.

He also expressed appreciation to the under listed institutions and individuals for the role they played in getting Ghana off the gray list: Bank of Ghana, Ministry of the Interior, Attorney General’s Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ambassador Sena Siaw Boateng, Securities and Exchange Commission, National Insurance Commission, Minerals Commission, the Ghana Revenue Authority, including its AML Unit, Gaming Commission, Registrar General's Department,

Others are the National Security Council Secretariat, Economic and Organized Crime Office, Ghana Police Service and the Narcotics Control Commission, National Intelligence Bureau, Non-Profit Secretariat of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Civil Society Organizations and all other stakeholders including GIABA.

He noted that with this decision, FATF and, for that matter, the international community had renewed its confidence in Ghana's Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime.