The government of Ghana has called on the European Commission to suspend the unilateral publication of the European Commission’s list of High-Risk Third Countries and Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorists.
Ghana is among a list of 22 states set to be blacklisted by the European Union (EU) effective October 2020.
The European Commission in May this year highlighted Panama, the Bahamas, Mauritius, Barbados, Botswana, Cambodia, Ghana, Jamaica, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nicaragua and Zimbabwe as part of countries that “pose significant threats to the financial system of the Union” because of failings in tackling money laundering and terrorism financing.
As a result, Banks and other financial and tax firms will be obliged to scrutinise more closely, their clients who have dealings with these countries.
Additionally, companies in the named countries are also banned from receiving new EU funding with effect from October 2020.
Speaking at a virtual extraordinary session of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) Council of Ministers on Monday, 27 July 2020, Ghana’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Mr Charles Owiredu, reiterated calls by some member states of the European Commission to suspend the implementation of the policy and to allow dialogue with the OACPS on the matter.
He added: “It is worth noting that most of the countries on the list, including Ghana, have enacted laws to combat money laundering and terrorism. In 2008, Ghana enacted the Anti-Money Laundering Act (ACT 749), which led to the establishment of the Financial Intelligence Centre for improving Ghana’s Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime”.
“The Centre, using modern technological software, has increased the filing and tracking of Suspicious Transactions Reports (STR) from reporting entities worldwide. These strides demonstrate Ghana’s commitment to its international obligations in fighting Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing”, he said.
The extraordinary session of the council of ministers also dialogued on an evolving draft agreement which is targeted at enhanced political and socio-economic cooperation of which the government of Ghana is hopeful “will bring substantial economic reliefs to our economies, many of which, admittedly, have been reeling heavily under the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic”.