Ghana's Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) has, in two years, frozen $9 million believed to be proceeds from crime, the acting Chief Executive Officer of the centre, Mr Samuel T. Essel, has said.
Out of the amount, $2 million has been confiscated to the state. The remaining $7 million is still under investigation.
The action followed the centre�s investigation of 248 suspicious transaction reports it received over the two-year period.
Additionally, the centre disseminated 107 of the reported cases to the appropriate authorities as intelligence, while investigations continue into the remaining cases.
Launching the anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) guideline in Accra, Mr Essel said, �Money laundering/terrorism financing threats confronting the country are real. We, therefore, need to demonstrate our commitment to ensure that the country succeeds in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing. �
Money laundering is a process by which the illicit source of assets obtained or generated by criminal activity is concealed to obscure the link between the funds and the original criminal activity.
Terrorism financing involves the raising and processing of funds to supply terrorists with resources to carry out their attacks.
While the two phenomena differ in key ways, they often exploit the same vulnerabilities in financial systems that allow for an inappropriate level of anonymity and non-transparency in the execution of financial transactions.
The FIC was established to, among other mandates, make crime less profitable by receiving, analysing and disseminating intelligence to investigative bodies and revenue agencies for enforcement.
In light of a growing awareness of the potential for the utilisation of the insurance industry for money laundering and terrorism financing operations, the National Insurance Commission collaborated with the FIC to develop the guideline to ensure that the insurance industry is insulated from the nefarious activities of money launderers and terrorists.
Additionally, the implementation of the guideline is expected to minimise the risk faced by licensed insurance entities falling prey to money launderers and also serve as protection against fraud, reputational and financial risks.
The insurance sector, particularly insurers and insurance intermediaries underwriting or placing life insurance and other investment-related insurances, is said to be potentially at risk of being used or misused, knowingly or unknowingly, for money laundering and the financing of terrorism, making the sector vulnerable to legal, operational and reputational risks.
Activities that trigger suspicion in the insurance sector include transactions set up and then quickly cancelled for no identifiable reason, transactions involving placements from or the involvement of intermediaries in different jurisdictions for no discernible purpose.
Others are return premiums, overpayments or claim payments where a third party appears to benefit; transactions where insurance does not appear to be the primary object or make no economic sense and over-inflated values, for example, on jewellery/fine art.
Ghana finds itself on a continent where terrorism is gradually eating deep into some parts and gaining notoriety with the activities of terrorist sects such as Al Shabab, Al-Qaeda and more recently Boko Haram and the Movement for the Unity of Jihad in West Africa.
Mr Essel said after the launch of the guidelines, the system would not tolerate any excuse born out of ignorance or the insatiable desire for profit.
Prof Newman Kwadwo Kusi, who launched the guidelines on behalf of the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, accordingly urged players in the insurance industry to place premium on due diligence.
Source: Daily Graphic
|Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Peacefmonline.com. Peacefmonline.com accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.|