23.07.2006 Business & Finance

Financial Intelligence Centre to complement roles

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Accra, July 22, GNA - The National Security Ministry has underscored the importance of the establishment of a Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), stressing that it was crucial to the fight against money laundering and proceeds of crime and terrorists organizations.

Addressing the closing session of a three-day workshop on the Anti-Money Laundering and Proceds of Crimes Bills in Accra, Mr. Kodjo Mpiani, Sector Minister said the FIC will not replace the other intelligence agencies of government, "rather will be a data analysis centre which will be expected to analyze fully data available to it and convert same to tangible information that other state investigative organs can use for purposes of enhancing their work outputs."

The two bills when enacted into law will minimise money laundering and take the illegal profits out of crime and prevent people from enjoying the profit from their criminal activity. He noted that government was committed to joining hands with the international community to work towards combating money laundering and its asociated proceeds of crimes and terrorist financing.

"It is towards this goal that government has selected the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, The Interior and National Security and lead agents to work for the enactment of the bils into law. The Anti-Money Laundering Bill is expected to be pased by November this year while the proceeds of crime bill is yet to leave cabinet. The three-day workshop is intended to enable stakholders and enacting bodies to share ideas on the way forward for the accelerated passingof the bill into law.

Mr Mpiani said the security of nations continue to be threatened by such activities of persons engaged in money laundering and converting the proceeds into assets.

He admitted that Ghana was facing additional threats due to the hugely cash-based economy it operates and the magnitude of the informal sector and misuse of its porous borders by unscrupulous people. The National Security Minister said when government came into office in 2001, it was confronted with a number of economic crimes, but the absence of an FIC led to the waste of substantial time.

"If there had been a financial intelligence centre, the onus would have been on it to undertake that aspect of intelligence work," he added.

Mr Mpiani said his ministry was still in discussion with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning on how to make the FIC credible, independent inits operations and function inthe eyes of theinternational community.

The work shop was organised by the governmentof Ghana in collaboration with the British High Commission, German Embassy and the United States Treasury.

The Central Bank in a statement resolvd to work in ensuring that the bills when passed into law would be fully administered within systems and standards set out by the Bank of Ghana.

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