The government of Ghana has expressed regret over the European Commission’s move to include the country in its lists of countries defaulting in the anti-money laundering and the Financing of Terrorism framework.
The Finance Ministry in a statement said the decision to include Ghana in the list was regrettable and flawed.
The statement indicated 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.
Government has therefore called on the European Commission to reverse its decision against the country.
It said “we consider the methodology used by the EC flawed, as there were no communications with Ghana concerning shortcomings that needed to be improved. Consequently, Ghana was not given the opportunity to respond or time to implement corrective measures, which is the norm. We therefore consider the decision to be premature and call for its reversal.”
The Ministry in the statement issued by its public affairs unit says Ghana’s commitment to enforcing the anti-money laundering and the countering of Financing terrorism framework has been acknowledged by the global standard regulatory body, the Financial Action Task Force [FATF].
According to the statement, “the European Commission’s blacklist of Ghana therefore does not reflect Ghana’s current AML/CFT regime.
Acknowledging the unfortunate situation, the statement said authorities are willing and ready to engage with the commission about the true status of the country’s AML/CFT regime adding that efforts at strengthening it and removing Ghana from their list of countries with strategic deficiencies in their AML/CFT framework will be worked at.
It would be recalled that the European Commission last week added Ghana to a list of 23 countries with strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing frameworks.
Ghana and other West African neighbour Nigeria were added to an already existing blacklist of 16 countries announced by the European Commission in a press release on February 13.
The list, however, did not include any specified sanctions, restrictions on trade relations or impediment to development aid.
The EC had stated that the aim of the list is to protect the EU financial system by better preventing money laundering and terrorist financing risks.