RCBs directed to flag, report suspicious transactions to FIC

Rural and Community Banks (RCBs) and Microfinance Institutions must flag and report transactions that are unusual and suspicious to the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), the Head of Financial Stability Department of BoG, Dr Joseph France, has said.

That, he said, would help combat Money Laundering (ML) and Terrorist Financing (TF) in the country.

Speaking at the two-day sensitisation workshop for RCBs and MFIs, Dr France said RCBs MFIs played important role in the financial intermediation process and should not be used as conduit for people to launder money and finance terrorist activities.

“Effective Transaction Monitoring will flag and report transactions that are unusual and suspicious to the FIC and prevent criminals from using institutions as conduit to facilitate ML/TF,” he said.

Dr France said Ghana was taken off the Financial Action Task Force grey list in June this year after the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) of FATF conducted its on-site examination on Ghana in May.

“To remain off the grey list, stakeholders in the fight against ML/TF will have to ensure compliance with the laws and regulations in building and sustaining a robust Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (AML/CFTP),” he said.

Ghana, he said, was reasonably compliant with the technical requirements of AML/CFTP because of the effectiveness of supervisory activities, and preventive measures instituted by the FIC and the BoG.

Dr France said the sensitisation workshop was to equip the RCBs and MFIs to acquire relevant expertise and knowledge in ensuring AML/CFP compliance.

He said the BoG had considered training resource persons in lower-tiered institution on how to develop Internal Risk Assessment Frameworks.

“The Bank of Ghana is advancing the work it started last year by engaging RCBs and MFIs to support the expansion of ML/FT risk assessment methodology of the BoG by including the lower-tiered RCBs/MFIs across the country in the programme,” he said.

Dr France said similar training programme for the Northern and the Middle belts of the country had successfully been completed, and the Central and Western would begin after the Southern belt was completed.

As part of the programme, the Head of the Financial Stability Department of the BoG, said participation institutions would be registered on the GOAL platform.

The platform, he said, would help to improve reporting to the FIC by institutions in the sector and enhance collaboration between competent authorities.

Dr France said the GOAL application “is a fully integrated software solution developed specifically for use by Financial Intelligence Units (FlUs) by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).”

The beneficiaries of the programme were introduced to population and submission of data capture returns and self- assessment questionnaire to help the BoG  to assess the overall risk of Regulated Financial Institutions and as a result, direct resources to institutions or sectors that have the highest risk profile.

STORIES:  KINGSLEY ASARE

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