Ghana enacted a new Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2020 (Act 1044) on 29 December 2020. The new Act consolidates the laws relating to the prohibition of money laundering.
Specifically, Act 1044 addresses the deficiencies of the old Anti Money Laundering Act, 2008 (Act 749) and seeks to make Ghana’s anti money laundering laws adhere to international standards. As such, the Act makes changes to the governance and administrative structure of the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC); it expands the scope of unlawful activities and the oversight of accountable institutions and imposes strict sanctions on persons who engage in money laundering.
The FIC is now expected to help accelerate the fight against money laundering, tax evasion, the financing of terrorism and other unlawful activities. As part of its functions, the FIC must collaborate with investigating authorities and security and intelligence agencies. The Centre is also authorized to share information with foreign counterpart agencies that perform similar functions.
Notably, the offence of money laundering now includes persons who assist in the commission of any of the unlawful activities described under the Act. These activities include the offences of fraud, bribery and corruption, human trafficking, counterfeiting currencies, insider trading, environmental crimes, robbery, piracy, and smuggling.
In line with the emergence of blockchain technology, the Act introduces the concept of a virtual asset service provider which pays particular attention to accountability of cryptocurrencies and digital assets.
To ensure compliance with its law, the Act imposes stringent sanctions for various money laundering infractions in the form of fines and imprisonment. For example, an individual who commits money laundering is now liable on summary conviction to a fine not less than 100% and not more than 500% of the proceeds of the crime and in the case of a corporate entity, a fine of not less than 300% of the proceeds of the crime.
By imposing stringent sanctions, the new Act demonstrates Ghana’s commitment to the prevention, detection, and prosecution of anti-money laundering violations. The implementation of this Act is expected to support Ghana’s ongoing effort to strengthen its anti-money laundering framework and make it more compliant with international standards.
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