Ghana to be removed from EU’s money laundering list

The European Union (EU), has announced plans to take off Ghana from its list of countries noted for money laundering and terrorism financing.

This decision is said to have been arrived at during President Nana Akufo-Addo’s two-day working visit to Brussels, Belgium, a statement from the Jubilee House said.

“The European Union acknowledged the efforts Ghana has made in implementing the action plan of the International Country Risk Guide (ICRG) in record time. The Commission, thus, congratulated Ghana for the reforms embarked on, as well as the sustainable, robust systems deployed towards being taken off the list” the release added.

It is expected that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, will in June 2021, announce that Ghana has been taken off its list of high-risk third-world countries with strategic deficiencies in Anti-Money Laundering and Countering of Terrorism Financing.

In May 2020, Ghana was cited by the European Commission for anti-money laundering and terrorism financing concerns together with three other African countries including Botswana, Mauritius and Zimbabwe.

They were all been subjected to financial transaction scrutiny.

A report by the Commission said the findings were part of a comprehensive approach to further strengthen the EU’s fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.

Other countries that were listed include Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Cambodia, Mongolia and Myanmar.

The listed countries were identified after a systematic assessment of their integrity of the EU financial system by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In order for them to be delisted, the affected countries were to show a strong commitment to addressing the menace.

Ghana was added to a list of 23 countries in February 2019 for the same reason.

At the time, the Finance Ministry described as regrettable the decision of the European Commission to add Ghana to its lists of countries defaulting in the anti-money laundering and the financing of terrorism framework.

It said Ghana’s commitment to enforcing the anti-money laundering and the countering of the financing terrorism framework has been acknowledged by the global standard regulatory body, the Financial Action Task Force [FATF].

The Ministry explained that the process by which the European Commission decided on Ghana as a country with strategic deficiencies in AML/CFT is flawed adding that there were no prior engagements between Ghana and various regulatory agencies and stakeholders.

The government of Ghana thus called on the European Commission to reverse its decision against the country.