Finance Ministry denies EU's assertion that Ghana has a weak anti-money laundering regime

The Finance Ministry has rejected the proposal from the European Commission’s proposal to include Ghana in the list of highrisk jurisdictions with strategic deficiencies in the anti-money laundering regime.

Ken Ofori-Attta

In a statement, the Finance Ministry said this is not a reflection of the current status of Ghana’s Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) (AML/CFT) regimes.

“This is unfortunate, and the Government of Ghana is always ready to engage with the EC about the true status of the country’s AML/CFT regime and efforts being made to strengthen same.”

This is coming after the European Union added 12 countries to its money-laundering blacklist this month.

These countries include Botswana, Ghana, Mauritius, and Zimbabwe.

Others are Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Cambodia, Mongolia, and Myanmar.

When approved by the European Parliament, the list will come into force in October this year.

The Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said it is time for the EU to put an end to dirty money infiltrating its financial system.

Read the full statement below:

Ghana regrets 7th May 2020 publication by the European Commission (EC) proposing to the European Union Parliament to add Ghana to its list of high-risk third countries with strategic deficiencies in their Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regimes on 1st October 2020.

Ghana over the years has demonstrated a strong commitment to strengthening its AML/CFT regime. Indeed, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global standard-setting on AML/CFT has always acknowledged Ghana’s efforts in enhancing its AML/CFT regime at various platforms of which the EC is always represented.

2. Just as the methodology used to publish a similar list on 13th February 2019, which was eventually withdrawn due to lack of clarity and transparency in the process of identifying third countries, we consider the methodology used to come up with this new list once again unfortunate. It is instructive to state that, the European Commission has not engaged Ghana concerning any shortcomings that needed to be addressed nor was the country given the opportunity to implement corrective measures. On the contrary, when Ghana’s progress report was being discussed at the last FATF Plenary meetings held in Paris, France from 19th to 21st February 2020, no adverse comment came from the EC. It is, therefore, a surprise for the EC to mention Ghana as one of the countries to be added to her list of high-risk third countries barely three months afterward.

3. You may recall that, following the discussion of Ghana’s Mutual Evaluation Report by FATF during their plenary meetings in October 2018, FATF identified some strategic deficiencies in the country’s AML/CFT framework, and has worked with Ghana to draw up a two-year Action Plan (2019 -2020) to address same.

4. The country has since been having periodic face-to-face meetings with the ICRG to assess the progress of implementation of the Action Plan. The last face-to-face meeting was from 15th to 17th January 2020 in Rabat, Morocco. It is worth mentioning that, since the action plan was adopted, Ghana has consistently demonstrated a high-level political commitment to implementing the action plan and has always received positive commendations from the FATF.

5. Indeed, the International Country Risk Guide (ICRG) in their report to the FATF Plenary meetings in February 2020 acknowledged that all timelines due have been met and some action items addressed even ahead of their timelines.

6. The European Commission’s proposal to include Ghana in the list of high-risk jurisdictions with strategic deficiencies, therefore, does not reflect exactly the current status of Ghana’s AML/CFT regime. This is unfortunate, and the Government of Ghana is always ready to engage with the EC about the true status of the country’s AML/CFT regime and efforts being made to strengthen same.

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