Ghana Off FATF Grey List

GHANA HAS been taken off from the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF’s) ‘grey list’ for money laundering and terror financing after making significant progress in improving its Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime.

The Paris-based organisation, which announced the delisting Friday, said the country was no longer subject to increased monitoring by the FATF.

Ghana was placed on the grey list by FATF in October 2018 and was given a plan of action to address the strategic deficiencies identified or face the risk of being placed on the black list with Iran and North Korea.

The country was among 22 other countries that were put on the list by the EU over money-laundering breaches, including three other African countries such as Botswana, Mauritius, and Zimbabwe.

“The FATF welcomes Ghana’s significant progress in improving its AML/CFT regime. Ghana has strengthened the effectiveness of its AML/CFT regime and addressed related technical deficiencies to meet the commitments in its action plan regarding the strategic deficiencies that the FATF identified in October 2018,” the organisation said in a statement at its website.

“Ghana is therefore no longer subject to the FATF’s increased monitoring process. Ghana will continue to work with GIABA to further improve its AML/CFT regime,” it added.

The organisation explained that when the FATF places a jurisdiction under increased monitoring, it means the country has committed to swiftly resolve the identified strategic deficiencies within agreed timeframes and is subject to increased monitoring.

“This list is often externally referred to as the ‘grey list’,” it said.

Recently, the European Union (EU) announced plans to take off Ghana from its list of countries noted for money laundering and terrorism financing after President Akufo-Addo held a meeting with the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and members of the European Commission.

Meanwhile, Samuel Thompson Essel, Chief Executive Officer, Financial Intelligence Centre, Ghana, has lauded efforts in getting Ghana delisted from the FATF’s list, pointing out that being on the grey list has implications of increased risk profile of the country.

According to him, this could have affected Ghana’s credit rating with adverse effect on international trade and investment as well as increase in opportunistic crimes, adding that the feat achieved was as a result a high level of commitment to FATF.

He indicated that it undertook significant legislative and institutional initiatives to bring the country at par with anti-money laundering and counter financial terrorist regimes.

Mr. Essel said the Financial Intelligence Centre was established as part of the repose mechanisms, having been mandated to receive, analyse and disseminate financial intelligence.

He stated that the Criminal Offences Act was also amended to criminalise offences such as unlawful use of human parts, enforced disappearance, sexual exploitation, illicit trafficking and racketeering.

He noted the Immigration Act and the Anti-Terrorism Regulation were also enacted to criminalise migrant smuggling and criminalise terrorist financing respectively, asserting that effort was made to establish and implement adequate measures for the confiscation of funds related to money laundering.

Some of the countries that are still on the list are Syria, Bahamas, Panama, Barbados, Jamaica, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Panama, Cambodia, Mongolia, Senegal, Philippines and Myanmar.

By Ernest Kofi Adu