Ghana has found its way on a blacklist of the European Commission (EC) joining 22 other countries the commission deems to have strategic loopholes in their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing frameworks.
Ghana and Nigeria joined the infamous list together with 5 other states joining 16 other blacklisted countries as revealed by the EC in a press release on February 13. The new entrants include Libya, Botswana, Samoa, the Bahamas and the four United States territories of American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam.
Afghanistan, North Korea, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and Yemen also make up the list. Bosnia, Guyana, Laos, Uganda and Vanuatu however were removed for putting in work to address issues the commission had.
The EC says the list is to protect the EU financial system by better preventing money laundering and terrorist financing risks.
For each country, the Commission assessed the level of existing threat, the legal framework and controls put in place to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing risks and their effective implementation. The Commission also took into account the work of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the international standard-setter in this field.
“We have established the strongest anti-money laundering standards in the world, but we have to make sure that dirty money from other countries does not find its way to our financial system. Dirty money is the lifeblood of organised crime and terrorism. I invite the countries listed to remedy their deficiencies swiftly. The Commission stands ready to work closely with them to address these issues in our mutual interest,” Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality submitted.
She added the European Commission adopted today a list of 23 third countries with weak rules against money laundering and terrorism financing. I would like first to explain the context and our main objectives. The EU must not be a destination for illicit money. The EU financial system must not serve as a vehicle for money laundering and must not serve as an instrument for financing crime including terrorism.
The list does not however entail any type of sanctions, restrictions on trade relations or impediment to development aid; but requires banks and obliged entities to apply enhanced vigilance measures on transactions involving these countries.
The 28 EU states now have one month, which can be extended to two, to endorse the list. They could reject it by qualified majority.
By Michael Eli Dokosi/goldstreetbusiness.com