Vice-President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has renewed and reaffirmed the government of Ghana’s commitment coupled with the continuous efforts to ensure that activities of money launderers and terrorism financiers are tackled head-on.
According to Dr. Bawumia, the Ghana government is doing everything possible to ensure that the Ghanaian economy is neither abused for money laundering and terrorist financing activities within the global community.
Dr. Bawumia made this known in a speech read on his behalf by the Senior Minister, Mr. Yaw Osafo Maafo at the 24th (Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa) GIABA Ministerial Committee Meeting held on Saturday at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra.
24th meeting of the GIABA Ministerial Committee (GMC) is the policy-making organ of GIABA.
He said an effective AML/CFT regime is key in achieving this feat and the government would not relent in our resolve to continually support various stakeholders including the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) as the lead institution in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing in Ghana.
He lamented that Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (ML/TF) continue to pose an enormous threat to global socio-economic development and peace and the ECOWAS region is no exception.
“Currently being a major region of concern regarding terrorist financing and the recent activities in Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso and the failed attempt in Guinea-Bissau. We need to contain this contagious trend in our sub-region before it devastates our whole region, and I believe that our efforts to strengthen collaboration, among member states to counter money laundering will have a significant impact on terrorist financing and these insurgencies,” the vice president charged.
In this regard, he assured the Director-General of GIABA, Justice Kimelabalou ABA, of Ghana’s unalloyed commitment towards the course of the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing in West Africa and beyond.
He also assured that Ghana is also available to, among others, assist other sister countries in the sub-region and beyond in their bid to strengthen their Anti Money Laundering (AML) Counter Financing of Terrorism (CFT) regimes.
The Vice President was happy to note that the European Union (EU) that placed Ghana on their grey list in terms of AML/CFT measures has realized the tremendous progress the country had made and subsequently for that matter took Ghana off their list at a record time.
He stated that with the support from GIABA, the FATF, the ICRG experts, and other domestic and international stakeholders Ghana was able to significantly address the concerns which led to the FATF taking Ghana off their list of jurisdictions under increased monitoring (grey list).
“Indeed your team of experts from the Africa/Middle East Joint Group of the International Cooperation Review Group, (ICRG) were on our toes in recent times to ensure we addressed some identified strategic deficiencies in our Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime. This we believe is a renewal of the FATF and the Global Community’s confidence in Ghana’s Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime,“ he added.
He gave the assurance that this momentum has since been maintained and an action plan to sustain the progress is currently under implementation.
Dr. Bawumia thanked the Director-General of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), Justice Kimelabalou ABA,, and the entire GIABA Secretariat for all the good work that they continue to do in strengthening the capacity of ECOWAS member states in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing in the ECOWAS sub-region.
“You continue to play that vital role very well notwithstanding your challenges. I also want to extend my sincere appreciation to the President of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Dr. Marcus Pleyer and the entire FATF Secretariat for the great work you are doing to keep the global community safe from money laundering and terrorist financing,” Dr. Bawumia said.
He was quick to add that Ghana has remained the pillar of stability and good governance and democracy in a fragile region.
“Ghana has also positioned itself as the gateway and spearhead for African economic and financial integration. As we are all aware, we host the Headquarters of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Over the past few years, we have engaged in significant reforms to make Ghana an attractive investment destination. More importantly, the impetus of a Ghana Beyond Aid highlights our eagerness for partnerships and linkages to enhance trade and economic cooperation with our friends for mutual benefit.”
He continued that the ECOWAS region is endowed with enormous resources and our ability to harness same in an effective and efficient manner will go a long way in enhancing the socio-economic wellbeing of the people.
“Our continent has been denied funds of up to about $88 billion dollars through illicit financial flows, as reported by the UNCTAD in the year 2020, largely through financial institutions, the multinational companies and high networth individuals who do business in Africa. These outflows if curtailed could be channelled into developmental projects and in rebuilding of our economies. This we can achieve through building robust regulatory environment and strong financial compliance systems and ensure strict enforcement to deter the players in this systems.”
Dr. Bawumia called for a strong regulatory environment, whilst reducing these illicit outflows, would, in the end, lead to more private capital being attracted to the continent for genuine investment.
He was particularly happy that the GIABA Technical Commission/Plenary meeting which serve as a forum for discussions among technical experts of the threats and challenges associated with ML/TF will go a long way to further strengthen the cooperation and collaboration much needed as a region in our concerted effort to keep the sub-region free and safe from economic crimes.
“While member States put in the hard work in the continuous evaluation exercises, it has been the worry of many on how cumbersome and expensive these regulatory requirements and the paperwork, can be especially for the small countries.
I would continue to reiterate, for the benefits of member States, to leverage robust and risk-proof digital infrastructure to ensure efficient implementation of the measures. I also call on all other member States to support GIABA and the global fight so that we can create a better future for our people.”