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Re: Commission steps up Fight against Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing

Re: Commission steps up Fight against Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing

Accra, 21st May, 2020 - Ghana regrets the May 7, 2020 publication by the European Commission (EC) proposing to the European Union Parliament to add Ghana to its list of high risk third countries with strategic deficiencies in their Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regimes. Ghana over the years has demonstrated a strong commitment to strengthening its AML/CFT regime.

Indeed, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global standard setting on AML/CFT has always acknowledged Ghana’s efforts in enhancing its AML/CFT regime at various platforms of which the EC is always represented.

Just as the methodology used to publish a similar list on February 13, 2019 which was  eventually withdrawn  due  to  lack  of  clarity  and  transparency  in  the  process  of identifying third countries, we consider the methodology used to come up with this new list once  again  unfortunate.  It  is  instructive  to  state that, the  European  Commission  has  not engaged  Ghana  concerning  any  shortcomings  that  needed  to  be  addressed  nor  was  the country  given  the  opportunity  to  implement  corrective  measures.  On  the  contrary,  when Ghana’s  progress  report  was  being  discussed  at  the  last  FATF  Plenary  meetings  held  in Paris,  France  on  February  19-21,  2020,  no  adverse  comment  came  from  the  EC.  It  is therefore  a  surprise  that  the  EC  would  add  Ghana  to  her  list  of  high  risk  third  countries barely three months afterwards.  
Following the discussion of Ghana’s Mutual Evaluation Report by FATF during their plenary  meetings  in  October  2018,  FATF  identified  some  strategic  deficiencies  in  the country’s AML/CFT framework. FATF has thus worked with Ghana to draw up a two year Action Plan (2019 -2020) which Ghana is on course to completing.  

The  country  has  since  been  having  periodic  face-to-face  meetings  with  the International  Country  Risk  Group  ICRG  to  assess  the  progress  of  implementation  of  the Action  Plan.  The  last  face-to-face  meeting  was  from  15-17  January,  2020  in  Rabat, Morocco.  It  is  worth  mentioning  that,  since the  Action  Plan  was  adopted,  Ghana  has consistently demonstrated a high level of political commitment to implementing the Action Plan and has always received positive commendations from the FATF. Indeed, the ICRG in  their  report  to  the  FATF  Plenary  meetings  in  February,  2020  acknowledged  that  all timelines  due have  been  met  and  some  action  items  addressed  even  ahead  of  their timelines. 
The European Commission’s proposal to include Ghana in their list of jurisdictions with  strategic  deficiencies  therefore  does  not  reflect  the  current  status  of  Ghana’s AML/CFT  regime.  The  EU’s  blanket  decision  to  include  all  countries  on  the  FATF  list irrespective  of  the  progress  made  is  unfortunate.  The  Government  of  Ghana  is  always ready  to  engage  with  the  Commission  about  the  true  status  of  the  country’s  AML/CFT regime  and  efforts  being  made  to  strengthen  same.  Ghana  is  confident  about  exiting  the FATF  list  by  December  2020  as  per  the  agreed  Action  Plan  with  FATF.  Ghana has an enviable reputation as a ‘Pillar of Stability’ in Africa and we are committed to ensuring that Ghana becomes the most attractive Africa destination for investment. END



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