GIABA Organises a Workshop to Strengthen Real Estate Businesses' Compliance with AML/CFT Measures
The Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) is organising a three-day workshop in Accra Ghana, to enhance compliance with anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) measures by real estate businesses. Real estate businesses are part of designated non-financial businesses and professions (DNFBPs), which have money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF) reporting obligations.
According to GIABA and FATF's typologies, the real estate businesses constitute is one of the most vulnerable sectors to ML/TF. This is further buttressed by the National Risk Assessment of Ghana, which identified the real estate sector as an ever-growing and the largest DNFBP sub-set, with significant exposure to ML/TF risks.
As a result of its relative importance to the financial health of a country, the real estate sector has obligations, under the FATF Recommendations, to (i) identify, assess, monitor, manage and take effective action to mitigate, ML/TF risks using a risk-based approach that requires enhanced measures when the risks are higher; (ii) carry out Customer Due Diligence (CDD) with respect to the customer, beneficial ownership and business relationship; (iii) take additional measures and precautions for politically exposed persons (PEPs); (iv) maintain records of CDD information and transactions; (v) implement policies, procedures and internal controls against ML/TF risks; (vi) implement targeted financial sanctions and freeze assets or take action against persons and entities designated by UNSCR 1267 and 1373, or other designated watch lists, and communicate the same to competent authorities; and (vii) report, in good faith, suspicious transactions to the Financial Intelligence Unit.
Therefore, the program's primary objective is to provide supervisors, self-regulating bodies, and real estate professionals with requisite knowledge on the vulnerabilities, methods, and/or channels used by criminals in the real estate sector to launder money. In particular, the workshop is aimed at enhancing the capacity of professionals on the relevant FATF Standards, raising awareness of participants on current and emerging ML/TF risks; and promoting cooperation, coordination, and engagement among relevant competent authorities and real sector professionals on how to effectively implement AML/CFT preventive measures in Ghana.
At the end of the workshop, the participants, comprising senior officials from relevant supervisory authorities, self-regulatory bodies, the Financial Intelligence Centre, as well as key players within the real estate sector (developers, lawyers, valuers, marketers, and the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association), would have benefited from enhanced capacity to implement AML/CFT measures. Mainly it would enhance Ghana's ability to effectively address the recommended and priority actions in its 2nd Round Mutual Evaluation Report (MER).