The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has appealed to the law enforcement agencies to support it to combat the activities of illegal forex bureaus operations in a bid to sanitise the forex bureau sector.
The Second Deputy Governor of BoG, Mrs Elsie Awadzi Addo, made the appeal at a workshop in Accra yesterday.
The workshop organised for members of the Committee for Co-operation between Law Enforcement Agencies and the Banking Community (COCLAB) was to discuss BoG’s recently published 2021 Fraud Report and come out with strategies to combat financial crime and money laundering in the country.
Mrs Addo said the efforts to sanitise the forex bureau sector could be achieved if the law enforcement agenciesstrictly enforce existing rules for the fair and transparent conduct of business by licensed forex bureaus, and by clamping down on illegal forex operations (the so-called black market).
“While Bank of Ghana regulates the sector, it relies on criminal investigative and law enforcement agencies (all of which are members of COCLAB) to help with enforcement efforts. We count on your cooperation especially now more than ever to help restore order and fair pricing to promote the Ghana cedi’s stability,”Ms Addo stated.
She said the BoG’s 2021 fraud report, revealed a disturbing prevalence of fraud in the banking sector, stressing that “Disturbing still, is the fact that most of the reported cases of fraud involve staff and contractors of these financial institutions.”
The Second Deputy Governor further said another worrying trend from the 2021 fraud report was the increasing levels of fraud associated with electronic money channels such as Automated Teller Machinesfraud, mobile money fraud, and cyber fraud.
She entreated the members of COCLAB, to take a critical look at those developments and identify concrete measures to help to address the underlying factors to reverse the trends.
“I urge you to work together to speed up investigations and prosecutions for financial crimes, that led to the failure and demise of 420 of our regulated institutions in our recent past, as well as brought untold hardships to depositors, former employees, other creditors, and ultimately, tax payers, that had to pay to provide relief for those affected,” the Second Deputy Governor said.
She said financial crime in all its forms including money laundering, terrorist financing, fraud (whether through offline or cyber related), siphoning and diversion of funds from the financial system by insiders to related parties, and others, all eroded the integrity of our financial system and destroys the confidence and trust that the Ghanaian public and our foreign counterparts repose in it.
Financial fraud, the Second Deputy Governor said, had adverse ramifications for the economy, such as a reduction in the rate of savings and investments in the formal financial system, a reduction in international trade facilities and foreign investment inflows that support our economy.
The Second Deputy Governor encouraged COCLAB members to step up their collaboration and efforts to support the country’s national economic development efforts to build a strong and resilient economy and nation, not only for today but for posterity.
MrsAddo said the work of the committee was critical now more than ever, and pointed out that “Combatting financial crime through information sharing and strategies, to help prevent financial crime and working closely together to investigate and enforce breaches of relevant rules against perpetrators of financial crime and their enablers, is essential to building a healthy and resilient economy and nation.”
“BoG assures you of its continued support for your work and will remain a strong partner going forward,” she said.
Mrs Addo said the formation of COCLAB in Ghana was spearheaded by Bank of Ghana, building on INTERPOL’s 1988 Resolution, to help curb economic crime around the world.
BY KINGSLEY ASARE