A four-day training workshop by the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering (GIABA) under the auspices of ECOWAS commenced in Accra yesterday with participants drawn from the West African sub-region.
In his keynote address read on his behalf by a representative, the Minister of Finance, Hon. Ofori Atta said the workshop is taking place at a time when President Nana Akufo-Addo has expressed “his avowed determination to fight terrorism, financing of terrorism and proliferation and predicate offences, especially corruption.”
In demonstrating this, the President, the minister said, has directed the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to initiate measures to amend the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) to upgrade the gravity of the offence of corruption from a misdemeanor, as it currently stands, to a felony.” This, he said, would send warning signals to public servants and civil society in general as punishment for corruption which he further explained would be proportionate, dissuasive and effective and above all consistent with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards.
Government having taken note of the National Risk Assessment Report on Ghana, he said, is steadily working towards the implementation of the Action Plan, with the hope that measures to address gaps and other strategic deficiencies to be identified in the 2nd Round Mutual Evaluation Report would be consolidated into the NRA Action Plan for complete and effective implementation.
He commended GIABA for, as he put it, “painstaking efforts, maturity and commitment towards the Mutual Evaluation Exercise.”
Government, he stated, has taken note of the non-compliance rating for the Technical Compliance regarding the FATF Recommendation 8 relating to the risks arising out of the operations of Non-Profit Organisations in Ghana and assured that “the IMC will collaborate with the Financial Intelligence Centre and other national authorities to address the deficiency with dispatch.”
The independent prosecutor’s office, he explained, would ensure expeditious and effective prosecution of persons suspected to have committed corruption and other financial crime adding that Ghana is considering the establishment of an Asset Management Office to effectively deal with property relating to crime.
Towards this end, he went on, the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) would soon consider instituting measures that would deepen collaboration between the Ghana Revenue Authority, the Financial Forensic Unit of the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service and the Financial Intelligence Unit to deal with tax evaders.
The workshop is being held at the Holiday Inn, Accra and is dubbed the FATF/GIABA Training Workshop On The Revised FATF Methodology For Mutual Evaluation Assessors.
Broken into an assortment of modules, the workshop is intended to, among others, enable participants to understand the purpose of the Mutual Evaluation, including the purpose of conclusions and recommendations to countries and to be aware of what is expected of them in conducting the evaluation and the roles of other parties involved.
The welcome address was delivered by Samuel Thompson Essel, CEO, Financial Intelligence Centre/GIABA National Correspondent, Ghana the opening address having been made by Col. Adama Coulibaly, Director General, GIABA.
By A.R. Gomda