EU clarifies why Ghana has been blacklisted

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The European Union (EU) has said that although it has blacklisted Ghana, there is no evidence of money laundering on any official of the Akufo-Addo-led government.

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According to the Head of Delegation of the EU to Ghana, Ambassador Diana Acconcia, Ghana ended up on the list because it failed to comply with checks that could forestall possible money laundering.

“There is no evidence of money laundering in Ghana,” she said on Asaase Radio in Accra.

Ambassador Acconcia explained that the EU would have ceased doing business with the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo administration if his appointees had been caught engaging in money laundering or funding terrorist operations.

Recently, reports were rife that Ghana’s Embassy in Belgium capital Brussels, has been ordered by its banker to withdraw all of its money so that the bank will proceed to close the embassy’s accounts.

The ING Bank has not given any reason for the decision to close the embassy’s accounts but says the decision is irreversible. The embassy has up to November 12, 2020, to withdraw all its money to another bank.

The ING Bank said its action is premised on Article 59 of the bank’s General Regulations.

Ghana’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has said their investigations so far pointed strongly to one possible reason for the closure of the accounts.

According to her, Ghana had been blacklisted by the European Union for non-compliance with money laundering and terrorism financing regulations and that placed further burdens on banks that dealt with transactions from such countries.

The banks are required to do enhanced due diligence on transactions from blacklisted countries such as Ghana and report on such transactions, which places an additional cost on the banks, the Minister explained.

“Our checks tell us that this is why the account has been closed,” Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey said.

Ghana’s Ambassador to Belgium, Sena Siaw Boateng, also said her checks with other embassies whose countries are on the EU’s blacklist revealed that their transactions were being subjected to enhanced scrutiny by their bankers.

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