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Ghana opposes European Union blacklisting

Starting in October, the EU will trigger a new blacklist of 12 countries which it says are failing to tackle money laundering and terrorism financing – and they include Ghana

The Government of Ghana has kicked against a change in policy direction by the European Union which will blacklist the West African state.

Ghana is one of 12 nations which will be blacklisted by the EU from October 2020 for failing to tackle terrorism financing and money laundering. To this end, the EU has drawn up a list of what it describes as high-risk third countries that are not doing enough to deter money laundering and circulation of money that funds terrorists.

The list is much disputed by other countries.

In addition to Ghana, the countries sanctioned are the Bahamas, Barbados, Botswana, Cambodia, Jamaica, Mauritius, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Panama and Zimbabwe. It would be the second time in a row that Ghana has featured on the list.

The EU maintains that the blacklisted countries “pose significant threats to the financial system of the Union”.

Ghana makes its case

But Ghana’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Charles Owiredu, argues that Ghana should not be on the blacklist. He has urged the EU to suspend its implementation of the policy and to allow dialogue with the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS).

Owiredu said Ghana has always taken steps to combat money laundering, citing the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2008 (Act 749).

The Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister made this known during a virtual extraordinary session of the OACPS Council of Ministers on Monday.

“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,” he argued.

“The centre, using modern technological software, has increased the filing and tracking of Suspicious Transactions Reports (STRs) from reporting entities worldwide.

“These strides demonstrate Ghana’s commitment to its international obligations in fighting money laundering and terrorist financing.”

Effects of blacklisting

Clients of states blacklisted by the European Union are frequently subjected to intense scrutiny by banks and other financial institutions as well as tax firms.

The EU also puts a stop to providing new funds to companies based in the blacklisted countries.

With Ghana on the list, the country will begin to feel the effects from October if the EU does not rescind its decision.

However, the Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister offered assurances that the Government of Ghana is working to ensure co-operation with other governments.

Owiredu said continuing dialogue with the OACPS Council of Ministers will help to “bring substantial … reliefs to our economies”.

E A Alanore

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