Accra, Feb. 9, GNA – The National Insurance Commission (NIC) and Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) on Thursday launched an Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating Financial of Terrorism (CFT) guidelines, to curb the threat it poses to the country’s peace, security development and growth.
This comes in the wake of the current spate of liberation and globalisation supported by technological advancement that has brought different dynamics to the global economy with it upsurge in transnational organised crimes.
The launch also follows the enactment of the Anti Money Laundering Ac t 2008 (Act 749) the Terrorism Act 2008 (Act 762) and the subsequent passage of the Anti-money laundering regulations 2011 (L.I. 1987).
According to the NIC, the guidelines had incorporated essential element of the AML and regulations relevant to the Financial Action Task Force recommendation, the sound practices of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) and the best practices of AML/CFT.
The guidelines are structured in two parts with part A covering new AML/CFT directives with part B providing guidance on Know Your Customer (KYC) to assist insurance practitioners in the implementation of the guidelines.
It also strikes a chord to Ghanaian insurance practitioners that the AML/CFT laws should operate in all the jurisdictions in which they function, and should not only designate money laundering and predicate offences but should prescribe sanctions for non-compliance with relevant laws and regulations on customer due diligence, non-rendition of prescribed reports and keeping of appropriate records.
The NIC said it was in the best interest of insurance practitioners to entrench a culture of compliance, which would be facilitated by the guidelines.
Professor Newman Kusi, an Economic Adviser, who launched the guidelines on behalf of Finance Minster Dr Kwabena Duffuor, said the launch completed the cycle of efforts by regulatory bodies to provide the detailed guidelines for their respective sectors to ensure effective and efficient management of the AML/CFT threats to the financial industry of Ghana.
He admitted that the AML was a problem and that much needed to be done to avert it, adding that the guidelines came in handy in government’s quest to nib the problem in the bud.
Prof. Kusi called on insurance practitioners to organise training AML/CFT programmes for their staff, to keep them abreast with money laundering and terrorism issues.
The Commissioner of Insurance, Mrs Nyamikeh Kyiamah, said the insurance sector especially insurers and insurances intermediaries underwriting or placing life insurance and other investment-related insurances, among other financial services sector operators were potentially at risk of being misused, knowingly or unknowingly for money laundering and financing of terrorism.
Mrs Kyiamah said:“In this vein, the insurance sector is exposed to legal, operational and reputation risks” and that insurance entities were very crucial in the implementation of AML/CFT requirements.
Mr Samuel Thompson Essel, Acting Chief Executive of FIC, noted that it had received a total of 248 suspicious transactions reports out of which 107 were disseminated to the appropriate intelligence authorities.
He said more than nine million believed to be proceeds of crimes had been frozen and $200 million confiscated to the State, and noted that “We cannot afford to sleep on our oars by underestimating the role required of Ghana in the global effort at combating the menace”.
Mr Adu Anane-Antwi, Director General of Securities and Exchange Commission, asked stakeholders to synergise their efforts to ensure that there were no loop holes for criminals to undertake their activities.