Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has disclosed that 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 Minister, a press conference yesterday, said the announcement was made last Friday and as a result of this, Ghana is 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.
“By this decision, FATF and, for that matter, the international community has renewed its confidence in Ghana’s Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime. This is great relief for the country, considering the economic consequences suffered by the country while on the list,” the Finance Minister said.
Boost for financial sector
He added that the decision would boost confidence in the integrity of Ghana’s financial environment and also boost foreign direct investment.
Throwing more light on the background of the ‘grey list’, he explained that in 2016,\ Ghana was subjected to a second round of mutual evaluation by the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing in West Africa (GIABA).
“Ghana was the first among her peers in the West African sub-region to have gone through the Second Round of Mutual Evaluation.
“Even though this round of mutual evaluation showed some progress over an earlier one in 2009, there were still significant gaps that needed to be addressed. Ghana was therefore placed under observation by the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG), one of the technical groups of the FATF charged with the responsibility of identifying, reviewing, and monitoring jurisdictions with AML/CFT deficiencies that present a risk to the international financial system. The ICRG and Ghana developed a 2-year Action Plan spanning 2019 – 2021 with timelines, to address the deficiencies,” he said.
Mr Ken Ofori-Atta stressed that, over the last three years, an Inter-Ministerial Committee, led by the Ministry of Finance, had been hard at work coordinating key reforms to cure strategic AML/CFT deficiencies.
“In addition, I have been chairing and guiding a multi-stakeholder National Task Force on AML/CFT. The Inter-Ministerial Committee has worked closely with the President and Cabinet Office to fundamentally transform AML/CFT governance of Ghana by approving the National AML/CFT Policy and Strategy, enacting critical legislation, and instituted key measures,” he mentioned.
To this end, he said FATF expressed satisfaction with its work so far, leading to a unanimous decision to take Ghana off the ‘grey list’.
The Finance Minister mentioned that over the past few years, the government had engaged in significant reforms to make Ghana the most attractive investment destination in Africa.
“More importantly, a Ghana Beyond Aid impetus highlights our eagerness for partnerships and linkages to enhance trade and economic cooperation with our friends for mutual benefit. Ghana exiting the ICRG process is also an important signal for the rest of the African sub-region,” he said.