Ghana has been cited as one of the countries in the world where money laundering activities grew in 2016 and has recorded two money laundering convictions in the same year, a recent report from the US State Department has said.
The International Narcotics Strategy Report found that although Ghana’s Anti-Money Laundering Law (AML), is largely compliant with international standards, these laws are not often applied.
This development among others put Ghana at the risk of being blacklisted in the West African sub-region. The country is required to take drastic measures to mitigate the high level of money laundering activities and financial crimes in the country.
The Ghana has been blacklisted in the past. In 2012, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) blacklisted Ghana for failing to meet international standards. But by October 2012, Ghana was removed from the blacklist when the country started working with FATF to address the issues leading to the blacklist.
In an exclusive interview with ghanabusinessnews.com, Dr Buno Nduka, Director for Programmes and Projects for the Intergovernmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), noted that when a country’s evaluation report is subjected to discussions at the international levels and it is discovered that the country is not making considerable effort to reduce or stop money laundering activities, that country will be put on an intensive programme called ‘Enhanced follow up process.’
Dr Nduka made the remarks on the sidelines of a workshop organized by the GIABA in collaboration with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
With the enhanced follow ups, the identified country will be reporting regularly on the progress it is making to counter money laundering.
Dr Nduka explained that, if the country still does not progress and fails to address those challenges, the issues are escalated to a higher dimension where a country can now be put on public notice.
“A public statement can be issued that the country is not complying with international standards with regards to dealing with money laundering and that other countries should be weary of doing business with them,” he added.
Additionally, Ghana’s money laundering activities report has now been evaluated but has not been discussed yet. The report will be discussed in May and if Ghana is found guilty, the country could be blacklisted.
The workshop which brought together experts from the West African sub-region sought to train assessors in compliance monitoring.
The compliance monitoring, first of all, evaluates the countries on the progress it has made towards combating money laundering to ascertain the efforts member states are making.
GIABA is the umbrella organization for West Africa in dealing with money laundering but now has other members outside of West Africa. GIABA is helping member states to put in place programmes to be able to implement effective and robust measures through capacity building, compliance, and monitoring.