The Minister of State at the Ministry of Works and Housing, Hon Dr Freda Prempeh, has urged Real Estate Industry players to enhance their skills to combat money laundering in the industry in order to bring sanity to real estate transactions.
“It is important to say that having the right tools required to combat money laundering and other financial crimes is very critical. It is, however, pointless if industry players are not well equipped to use them because criminals are increasingly devising complex methods of committing crimes to avoid being traced, investigated and prosecuted”, she said.
Dr Freda Prempeh said this at the opening of a three-day workshop organized by the In-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) on the theme, “Enhancing Anti-Money Laundering & Combating the Financing of Terrorism Compliance by Real Estate Agents/Practitioners”.
The Hon. Minister revealed that the Ministry of Works and Housing in its quest to adhere to international best practices as part of the promulgation of the Real Estate Agency Act, 2020 (Act 1047) incorporated provisions to plug the avenues in which real estate transactions are used to launder money including the prohibition of the use of cash for real estate transactions to ensure that there is a detailed tracking of the transactions.
She commended the organisers for opening an avenue for industry players to share ideas that will help to collectively police the anti-money laundering space.
The Director of Evaluation and Compliance of GIABA, Dr Bunu Nduka, explained that the primary objective of the programme is to provide supervisors, self-regulatory bodies and real estate professionals with requisite knowledge on the vulnerabilities and methods used by criminals in the real estate sector.
Mr Patrick Ebo Bonful, President of Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA), assured GREDA’s readiness to assist with any national effort geared towards fighting money laundering and counter-terrorism affecting the real estate industry.