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Business News of Friday, 22 May 2020


Ghana angry with European Commission over money laundering tag

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

Ghana has expressed unhappiness with the proposal by the European Commission to add her to the list of high-risk third world countries with strategic deficiencies in their Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regimes.

“Just as the methodology used to publish a similar list on February 13, 2019, which was eventually withdrawn due to lack of clarity and transparency in the process of identifying third countries, we consider the methodology used to come up with this new list once again unfortunate”, a statement from the Ministry of Finance stated.

The statement added: “It is instructive to state that the European Commission has not engaged Ghana concerning any shortcomings that needed to be addressed nor was the country given the opportunity to implement corrective measures. On the contrary, when Ghana’s progress report was being discussed at the last FATF Plenary meetings held in Paris, France on February 19-21, 2020, no adverse comment came from the European Commission.”

Ghana, therefore, expressed surprise that the EC would add her to the list barely three months afterwards.

Continuing, the statement said the European Commission’s proposal to include Ghana in their list of jurisdictions with strategic deficiencies,, therefore does not reflect the current status of Ghana’s AML/CFT regime.

“The EU’s blanket decision to include all countries on the FATF list irrespective of the progress made is unfortunate”, it emphasised.

“The Government of Ghana is always ready to engage with the Commission about the true status of the country’s AML/CFT regime and efforts being made to strengthen same.

Ghana is confident about exiting the FATF list by December 2020 as per the agreed Action Plan with FATF. Ghana has an enviable reputation as a ‘Pillar of Stability’ in Africa and we are committed to ensuring that Ghana becomes the most attractive Africa destination for investment”

Following the discussion of Ghana’s Mutual Evaluation Report by FATF during their plenary meetings in October 2018, FATF identified some strategic deficiencies in the country’s AML/CFT framework. FATF has thus worked with Ghana to draw up a two-year Action Plan (2019 -2020) which Ghana is on course to completing.

The country has since been having periodic face-to-face meetings with the International Country Risk Group ICRG to assess the progress of implementation of the Action Plan.

The last face-to-face meeting was from 15-17 January 2020 in Rabat, Morocco.

The statement noted that it is worth mentioning that, since the Action Plan was adopted, Ghana has consistently demonstrated a high level of political commitment to implementing the Action Plan and has always received positive commendations from the FATF.

Indeed, the ICRG in their report to the FATF Plenary meetings in February 2020, acknowledged that all timelines due have been met and some action items addressed even ahead of their timelines.