The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has withheld large sums of money suspected to have been laundered from abroad by some foreign counterparts remitted to certain individuals and businesses in the country, thereby, further reporting such cases to the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to prosecute the culprits.
In a press release signed by Secretary of the Bank of Ghana, Sandra Thompson, the regulator said the culprits tried to formalise the transaction using the SWIFT transfer system but documents attached to the transactions were later found to be fake, hence, referral to EOCO for further investigation and prosecution.
“Following an emerging trend observed by the BoG over the last few years, BoG has since October 2020 submitted five separate requests to EOCO for investigations into claims of persons (individuals, businesses, and law firms acting on behalf of clients) who have persistently made claims on the BoG to the effect that certain large sums of money purportedly remitted to them by foreign counterparties through the banking system have been withheld by BoG.
These claimants often attached documentation alleged to be messaging from the SWIFT international funds transfer system, as proof of the receipt and retention of their funds by BoG. Following BoG’s preliminary investigations which have shown that these claims are fake, BoG has referred such matters to EOCO for further investigation. EOCO has made significant progress in these investigations and has initiated prosecution in some of these cases, while investigations in other cases continue,” the statement said.
The central bank has reiterated that it remains ever ready to cooperate with and assist law enforcement agencies to fight financial crimes and keep the sector clean of any money laundering activities, especially, at a time that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recently removed the country from its grey list.
Update on prosecution of directors of some defunct financial institutions
The bank further provided update on efforts it is making to prosecute shareholders, directors, and managers of some defunct banks, savings and loans companies, finance houses, and microfinance companies. The regulator says it has cited a number of potentially criminal actions on the part of these institutions and their shareholders, directors or management, and subsequently, handed them over to EOCO for further action.
“Following further investigations into the failure of these institutions by the Receivers appointed by BoG, these cases were referred to EOCO for advice. EOCO has conducted independent investigations into a number of these cases as listed below and has made recommendations to the Attorney General’s Department for consideration and possible prosecution.
EOCO continues to work with the Attorney General’s Department towards speedy prosecutions of persons suspected to have been complicit in the failures of these institutions. In the meantime, EOCO has frozen and/or impounded some assets of such persons to help with reimbursements of the claimants of the defunct institutions.
BoG continues to deepen its collaboration with EOCO and other law enforcement agencies in the country, to help promote financial integrity and trust and confidence in our banking system,” the statement said.
The savings and loans companies which have their shareholders, directors, and managers referred to EOCO include Ideal Finance, GN Savings and Loans, CDH Savings and Loans, Midland Savings and Loans, Legacy Capital Savings and Loans, FirsTrust Savings and Loans, Express Savings and Loans, IFS Savings and Loans, UniCredit Savings and Loans, and Dream Finance Co Ltd.
The microfinance companies also include Goldman Capital Microfinance, Dwadifo Adanfo Microfinance, CIG Microfinance, Noble Dream Microfinance, Adom Sika Microfinance, Nationwide Microfinance, Cypress Microfinance, Jorbies Microfinance, DPF Microfinance, and FTS Capital Microfinance.