Friday, 17 February 2012

Ghana blacklisted......

 An international money-laundering watchdog called Financial Action Task Force has added Ghana to its blacklist of countries that fail to meet international standards.

Ghana has been blacklisted alongside Tanzania, Thailand, Pakistan and Indonesia.

According to The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Ghana and the four other countries are flaunting recommendations made to them toward fighting money-laundering and financing terrorism.

The news comes just months after the Ghana Financial Intelligence Centre launched manuals on anti-money laundering and fighting financing of terrorism with the banking, insurance and securities industries.

The Financial Intelligence Centre has already revealed that in the last two years it froze $9 million dollars believed to be proceeds from crime.

Its acting Chief Executive Officer Samuel Essel said government has confiscated $2 million dollars.

The remaining $7 million is still under investigation. The action followed the centre’s investigation of 248 suspicious transaction reports it received over a two-year period.

The FIC has already admitted Ghana has not scored well in many international indexes on tackling money laundering, hence its efforts to tighten the loop holes in the key financial areas of the economy.

The international money-laundering watchdog that blacklisted Ghana does not have any powers to sanction but the announcement will certainly dent Ghana’s image and credibility on the international financial market.

According to the new report released yesterday in France, the blacklist now includes 17 countries. Aside from Ghana and the four new ones, the: Bolivia, Cuba, Ethiopia, Iran, Kenya, Myanmar, Nigeria, North Korea, Sao Tome and Principe, Sri Lanka, Syria and Turkey.

No countries were taken off the blacklist, but Honduras and Paraguay were removed from an intermediary "grey-list" of countries found to be falling behind on international standards despite having committed to them.

"We are looking exclusively at the implementation of the standards," McDonell told journalists at a FATF meeting in Paris. "Countries that we look at wind up on the list because they have not implemented them."

The body can make recommendations to any of the 36 countries that have signed a membership charter, as well as other nations, but it has no power to carry out sanctions.

The FATF, whose recommendations reach more than 180 countries through regional networks, estimates that money laundering and related financial crimes cost between 2 percent and 5 percent of global gross domestic product.

In its report, the FATF also called on governments to consider tax evasion as a money-laundering offence. The agency is also extending its focus to target the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The FATF blacklist now includes 17 countries. Aside from the five new ones, they are the grey-list includes 22 countries: Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Ecuador, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Sudan, Tajikistan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen and Zimbabwe.

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