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Government wages war on cyber fraud

Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia

Thu, 22 Apr 2021 Source: thebftonline.com

Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has said government is waging an all-out war on cyber fraud, and as a result all relevant state and private institutions in the cybersecurity space have been brought together to form a Fraud Control Dashboard (FCD).

The dashboard includes key executives from the Bank of Ghana (BoG), National Communication Authority (NCA), Ghana Police Service and other state and private bodies which will be tasked with not just aggressively fighting but preventing cyber criminals and their associates from having a foothold in Ghana.

The move, Dr. Bawumia pointed out, is to help deal with some serious challenges the nation is bedevilled with as a result of fraudulent activities in the cyber space which could derail the nation’s economic development and image-building if urgent steps are not taken.

Giving the keynote address at this year’s Mobile Technology for Development (MT4D) conference, Dr. Bawumia said: “One major challenge confronting the financial industry today is the proliferation of fraudulent activities. This is a huge worry for government, service providers and consumers, because the soundness of a good digital ecosystem must guarantee all users the security, confidentiality, and completeness of all transactions.

“I am therefore pleased to announce the launch of the Fraud Control Dashboard initiative by the industry and in partnership with the Bank of Ghana and Ghana Police Service. This platform will harmonise the individual fraud control mechanism of mobile money operators to strengthen our national resolve in tackling and mitigating fraud on our networks. It will help in blocking SIM cards, mobile devices – and blacklist ID numbers that connect to any fraud or general crime-related cases in the country,” he said.

It is believed by many industry-watchers that the move is part of measures to ensure a robust financial system and also accelerate the country’s efforts to be out of the European Union’s (EU) data on blacklisted countries with weak or deficient Anti Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Laws – as finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has hinted.

Speaking at the same event, the Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said: “The increased adoption of technology in various sectors in our economy is excellent, but it also come with risk such as financial fraud, data breaches, identity theft and cybercrimes, and other cybercrimes that must be addressed to protect our people and systems.

“The Cybersecurity Act was just enacted in December last year, and it establishes an authority to protect our critical information infrastructure, regulate cybersecurity activities, provide for legal interception of communications, and develop the cybersecurity ecosystem over our country. We are in the process of operationalising the Act.”

She added that: “We will also be conducting SIM re-registration this year, a process that is long overdue in view of the critical importance SIM-enabled devices have assumed as we increasingly utilise digital financial services. I must commend the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications for complementing efforts of the National Communications Authority, which is establishing a central equipment identity management system while setting up the Fraud Dashboard to help eradicate Fraud”.

Background of EU’s action

The European Union on May 7, 2020 announced that it had placed 12 countries on the list of places with weakness or deficiencies in Anti Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Laws. These included the Bahamas, Barbados, Botswana, Cambodia, Ghana, Jamaica, Mauritius, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Panama and Zimbabwe. In Ghana’s situation, the action or directive was supposed to kick-in from October 2020.

According to the EU, the weaknesses identified in those countries pose a serious risk to their financial systems – hence the action which was based on recommendations from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Ghana’s Finance Ministry, later in the statement, described the action as surprising and unfortunate – especially when government claimed it had already put in steps to address all the issues identified by the FATF. The action came with some scrutiny for banks in Ghana dealing with their counterparts in Europe.

Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Ernest Addison, recently noted that the action impacted negatively on some banks.

Source: thebftonline.com
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