The Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) is pushing for the amendment of legislations on money laundering and financial crimes in the country.
It follows recommendations upon the completion of a National Risk Assessment report by the Law Enforcement Coordinating Bureau (LECOB).
The report also comes at a time that Ghana is preparing for a mutual evaluation of its ability to mitigate the impact of money laundering and terrorist financing on the country’s financial systems by the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering (GIABA) in September.
Currently, Parliament is yet to approve the Companies’ and the Real Estate Agency Bills which will monitor activities of businesses to curb financial crimes.
Speaking at the launch of the National Risk Assessment Workshop, the Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Intelligence Centre, Samuel Thomspon Essel, urged government to comply with the recommendations to redeem Ghana’s image internationally.
“We must address matters relating to recommendations 10, 24 and 25 of the revised recommendations of 2012; to avoid being placed under enhanced transparency in our transactions. It is therefore my hope that the Companies Bill which is about to be laid before Parliament would address the lacuna identified by the Inter Governmental Action Group Action against Money Laundering (GIABA),” he stated.
Mr. Essel added, “Although there is an Extradition Act, (Act 67 of 1962), a number of changes have occurred over the period and there is therefore the need to expedite the passage of the Extradition Bill. The Real Estate Agency Bill is also being considered by government. The early passage of this Bill would go a long way to streamline the operations of the industry.”
The National Risk Assessment is among other things intended to; determine the level of vulnerability of the economic and financial sectors to Money Lending and Terrorist Financing; determine and understand the weaknesses in the legal framework, by considering the criminal and administrative justice systems, the existing preventive measures and as well, prescribe the best ways to promote and judiciously allocate resources for the prevention, investigation and prosecution of Money Lending and Terrorist Financing offences.
Senior Financial Sector Specialist at the Financial and Private Sector Development of the World Bank, Cari Votava, commended Ghana for being the first West African country to complete the assessment report.
She also called for a greater collaboration among key players to enhance regulations on financial crimes to meet global standards,
“We hope the final NRA report from all the countries will eventually be made public so that other countries can complete and meet their international obligations… The NRA plan can be modified and tailored as the country moves forward to implement it. This will also require the time, attention and commitment of all leaders and developing partners,” she noted.
Meanwhile a Deputy Minister of Finance, Mona Quartey has also urged concerted efforts of other African states to help eradicate the effects of money laundering and terrorist financing.
“The threats posed by the activities of the criminals are not particularly restricted to any particular nation. In this regard a concerted effort by all of African countries region is necessary to eradicate the effect of terrorism and money laundering,” she stressed.
Recommendations of National Risk Assessment
Some of the recommendations offered by the are that; government should enact new laws or amend existing ones relating to banking, insurance and securities sectors to compel them to exact pecuniary sanctions to accountable institutions who fail to comply with Anti-Money Laundering or Combating Financing Terrorism measures.
Also there is the need for the establishment of an asset management office to manage tainted properties, seized and confiscated. In this regard, we strongly recommend the amendment of law to incorporate non-conviction
Lastly, as the bureau contends the country cannot boast of a single Certified Financial Crimes Investigator, it is seeking training for financial investigators for law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and the Judiciary to bring them to speed with the global fight against Money Lending and Terrorism Financing.
By: Pius Amihere Eduku/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana