Seventy six (76)alleged illegal forex operators known as ‘black market’ operators were on Tuesday apprehended in Accra and across the country.
The exercise dubbed ‘Special Operation on Foreign Exchange Parallel (Black Market Operators’ was carried out by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) in conjunction with the police.
The exercise in Accra took place around Rawlings Park, Tudu, Cowlane, Circle, Kimbu Market and Lava.
According to a statement issued by the BoG, the purpose of the operation was to clamp down on individuals and entities engaging in the business of buying and selling foreign exchange without a license from Bank of Ghana in violation of Ghana’s foreign exchange laws and regulations.
The Head of the Foreign Exchange Bureau Examinations Office, at the Bank of Ghana, AdjoaKonaduTorto, indicated that the exercise would continue in other parts of the country in the coming days.
She maintained that members of the public who patronised the activities of ‘Black Market” operators were equally guilty before the law.
“The over 76 perpetrators were apprehended by the police for prosecution. The special operation will continue nationwide,” she said.
Mrs Torto cautioned the general public to desist from engaging in illegal foreign exchange business without a licence.
“The general public must always trade with the Bank of Ghana licensed foreign exchange (forex) bureaux. Accordingly, the Anti-Money Laundering ACT, 2020 (Act 1044) as amended instructs all bureau customers to insist on their electronic receipts by providing the acceptable valid ID, the Ghana Card, to cover the buying and selling of all foreign currencies”, she added.
The Head of Foreign Bureau Examinations said section 3 (1) of the Foreign Exchange Act, 2006 (Act 723) prohibited people from engaging in foreign exchange without license.
She stated that “A person shall not engage in the business of dealing in foreign exchange without a licence” and Section 29 (1a) “A person who engages in the business of dealing in foreign exchange without a licence commits an offence and is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of not more than seven hundred penalty units or a term of imprisonment of not more than eighteen months, or both.”
MrsTorto further said Section 1 (i& ii) of the Revised Forex Bureau Regulations, stated that “No person shall carry on any forex bureau business unless he/she is in possession of a valid forex bureau licence. A person who contravenes or fails to comply shall be guilty of an offence and shall be dealt with in accordance with the law.”
She said the special operation was part of the bank’s overall strategy to sanitise the foreign exchange market.
“Other measures being put in place include enforcement of compliance from licensed foreign exchange bureaux particularly with the taking of customer identification (Ghana card) and issuance of electronic receipt for every forex transaction; intensified public sensitisation and media engagements to educate the general public on forex rules and regulations, including the need to avoid the black market, “she said.
Mrs Torto expressed gratitude to the law enforcement agencies for a successful operation and look forward to more collaboration to bring the parallel market operations to the barest minimum.
She cautioned the general public to desist from engaging in foreign exchange business without a licence, adding that’s “Members of the public who patronise the activities of black market operators are equally guilty before the law.”
Mrs Torto further observed that the Anti-Money Laudering ACT, 2020 (Act1044) as amended instructed all forex bureau customers to insist on their electronic receipts by providing the acceptable valid ID, the Ghana Card, to cover the buying and selling of all foreign currencies.
BY KINGSLEY ASARE