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Business News Tue, 25 Aug 2015

Mobile money poses challenge to money laundering

The Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) is worried that the growth of mobile money (MM) systems may pose challenges in dealing with money laundering.

The use of mobile money platforms by criminals, it said, would increase if concurrent steps were not taken by all stakeholders to stem the tide.

“Currently, criminals operating on the Internet have resorted to the use of mobile money payments to perpetrate their illicit trade. Issues of identification of mobile money patrons — both physical and electronic identity will, thus, become a major challenge in combating money laundering if stakeholders do not marshal forces to adequately regulate this sector,” the Chief Executive Officer of the FIC, Mr Samuel Thompson Essel, said.

He was speaking at the second edition of the Cash Handling and Security Workshop in Accra, organised by e-Crime Bureau in collaboration with other stakeholders including the Ghana Association of Bankers, FIC, cash-in-transit operators, security agencies, the Insurance Commission, and others.

The e-Crime Bureau, established in 2011, is the first private sector-led organisation to specilialise in cyber security and cyber forensics in West Africa.

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Mr Essel said the economy, like any other, was facing real and latent cash handling challenges and that the traditional cash handling practices were exposed to various security risks such as currency counterfeiting, cheque clearing, cloning and robbery attacks which in most cases also exposed individuals working in the sector to health and safety risks.

While the introduction of guidelines by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) will ensure greater regulation of the MM operations, he said, “I strongly recommend a more stringent regulatory and compliance regime specifically designed to address current and emerging issues pertaining to MM operations.”

He emphasised the need for clarity in law as to what constitutes electronic identity of an MM patron and how regulators and other stakeholders could authenticate this identity.

Organisers said the workshop was designed to equip stakeholders to deal with cash handling and security challenges confronting institutions and Ghanaians at large.

The Founder of e-Crime Bureau, Mr Albert Antwi-Boasiako, said it was expected to bring together stakeholders in the cash handling ecosystem to discuss challenges and best practices.

Source: Graphic.com.gh
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