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Akufo-Addo approves Anti-Money Laundering law, action plan

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President Akufo-Addo has given his approval to the Ghana National Anti-Money Laundering Law and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFL) Policy and action plan.

This was contained a letter signed by Secretary to President Nana Bediatuo Asante, replying a request from the minister of finance Ken Ofori-Atta for the documents to given the executive approval. The letter was captured in a policy document that was released officially by the Financial Intelligence Center FIC.

President Akufo-Addo by the executive approval has also directed the finance minister Ken Ofori- Atta, to establish a Technical Implementation Committee.

This would be made up of a dedicated staff of experts from all relevant agencies, tasked with monitoring the successful implementation of the National AML/CFT Policy and Action Plan. The National Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation Policy would regulator these sectors from 2019 to 2022.

What is the AML/CFT policy?

The main aim of the policy is to engage and coordinate all relevant agencies across the entirety of government in order to combat Money Laundering (ML), Terrorism Financing (TF) and the Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (P).

This effort is coordinated by the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) for Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) chaired by the Minister of Finance.

It is aimed to detect, deter and vigorously investigate and prosecute ML/TF&P related offences, associated predicate offences; and to protect the integrity of Ghana’s financial system from illicit financial activity and corruption.

Ghana’s current AML/CFT efforts are both aspirational with respect to the nation’s economic and security goals as well as responsive to the risks identified during the National Risk Assessment and the findings of the Second Round of AML/CFT Mutual Evaluation exercise as reflected in the ICRG action plan.

These efforts are focused on improving our comprehensive legal and regulatory framework; strengthening our institutional capacity through increased resourcing and training, enhanced international cooperation with other jurisdictions; a mature and pervasive culture of compliance; effective monitoring of the measures implemented; and decisive law enforcement actions against ML/TF&P threats.

Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta on the AML/CFT Policy  

According to Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta government at the highest level is fully committed to implementing the National AML/CFT Policy and Action Plan.

He added that “Ghana will continue to play its required role in the global fight against illicit financial flows, terrorism financing, and the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction”.

He maintains that government will also continue to collaborate with the FATF, GIABA and other development partners in its efforts to address the deficiencies and risks identified in the country’s AML/CFT regime.

Impact on the economy

The development could convince development partners and investors that the necessary structures are laws are in place to deal with money laundering and terrorism financing. This could influence positively, Foreign Direct Investment and even donor support.

Details of the AML/CEF policy

According to the government, the development and publication of the National AML/CFT Policy (2019-2022) is a major step forward in Ghana’s fight against ML/TF&P.

The Policy is based on the findings of the NRA and is meant to address the major structural vulnerabilities and strategic deficiencies within Ghana’s AML/CFT regime.

The NRA identified the lack of statistics on ML/TF & P, low level of ML/TF investigations, prosecutions, convictions, asset recovery and the ineffective supervision of Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs), among others.

The National AML/CFT Policy is grounded on six (6) key thematic areas (goals) which would be implemented over a period of four years (2019-2022).

Ghana is committed to ensuring adequate resources (including financial, technical and logistical) are devoted towards the implementation of this Policy so as to protect the economy from the scourge of money laundering, terrorist financing and transnational organized crimes, and enhance national and global economic stability and growth.

Principles guiding the policy

The National AML/CFT Policy and Action Plan is driven by the following strategic principles:

● Aggressively implement all international standards, relating to combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation set by the Financial Action Task Force and United Nations Security Council Resolutions including targeted financial sanctions addressing terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

● Optimize and integrate inter-agency AML/CFT policy and operational coordination and cooperation through the deployment of technology and formal processes and mechanisms.

● proactively assist and engage with other jurisdictions through formal and informal channels in initiating, supporting and responding to AML/CFT inquiries and investigations

● Deploy the Supervisory and Regulatory Authorities, the Financial Intelligence Centre, Law Enforcement Agencies and the Judiciary to address financial crime and corruption in accordance with identified risks.

● Implement a preventive regulatory program across all sectors including the DNFBP sector that employs strong licensing, robust reporting requirements, strict AML/CFT regulations, and risk-based supervision.

● Develop and deliver a program of education for private sector stakeholders and partnership with civil society to enhance understanding of ML/TF risks and promote a culture of compliance.

● Enhance the capacity of LEAs in the Investigation, Prosecution and increased conviction of ML/TF&P cases.

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