Gov’t regrets European Commission’s decision to blacklist Ghana over faulty anti-money laundering regime

The Finance Ministry has expressed disappointment over the proposal by the European Commission to the EU Parliament for Ghana to be added to countries with strategic deficiencies in their Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regimes from 1st October 2020.


A press release issued by the Ministry stated that contrary to the EC’s decision, “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.”


According to the Ministry, 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 19th to 21st February, 2020, no adverse comment came from the EC. It is, therefore, a surprise for the EC to mention Ghana as one of the countries to be added to her list of high risk third countries barely three months afterwards, the release decried.


The Ministry further explained that following the discussion at the plenary meetings in October 2018, FATF identified some strategic deficiencies in the country’s AML/CFT framework, and has worked with Ghana to draw up a two-year Action Plan (2019 -2020) to address same.


The country, the Ministry said, has since been having periodic face-to-face meetings with the ICRG to assess the progress of implementation of the Action Plan with the last face-to-face meeting being from 15th to 17th January, 2020 in Rabat, Morocco.


“It is worth mentioning that, since the action plan was adopted, Ghana has consistently demonstrated a high-level political commitment to implementing the action plan and has always received positive commendations from the FATF.


Indeed, the International Country Risk Guide (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 the list of high risk jurisdictions with strategic deficiencies, therefore, does not reflect exactly the current status of Ghana’s AML/CFT regime. This is unfortunate, and the Government of Ghana is always ready to engage with the EC about the true status of the country’s AML/CFT regime and efforts being made to strengthen same,” the Ministry concluded.