The government revises the law on rents and the law on real estate agencies to combat money laundering
Housing Minister Francis Asenso-Boakye said the government is undertaking a comprehensive review of the Rents Act, Estate Agencies Act and others with the aim of combating money laundering in the country.
He said the Cabinet is currently going through the laws to submit them to Parliament for necessary amendments to be approved.
This comes after the European Commission removed Ghana from the EU blacklist in January 2022.
The Commission has recognized that Ghana no longer has strategic deficiencies in its anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regimes.
To strengthen laws and ensure that real estate is not used by criminals to defraud people, Mr. Asenso-Boakye noted that the government is pursuing stringent reforms to sanitize real estate transactions.
“If you talk about the housing authority, they are currently before the Cabinet to get approval for the policy so that we can take the necessary action afterwards. The national housing policy which was adopted in 2015 seriously recommends a housing authority to manage the provision of social housing.
“The Cabinet has given political approval for the revision of the Rents Act, the Estate Agents Act meant to sanitize property transactions; so this is a very important area because these money laundering issues in the Ghanaian sector are very dependent on real estate transactions,” he said.
He also said there are plans to license artisans in the country before they can undertake any work.
“In Ghana today, many developers prefer to hire craftsmen from our neighboring countries, Togo, Benin, Ivory Coast and most of the French countries surrounding Ghana, all because they have a regime very robust licensing.”
“All their artisans now come to Ghana to practice and most developers prefer to use them rather than ours. It is important that we strengthen our licensing regime and this is an area where you have my full support,” he said.
The European Commission listed Ghana and 11 other countries for failing in their anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regimes in May 2020.
According to the Commission, the situation has exposed the European Union’s financial system to significant threats.
The inclusion of Ghana in the blacklist meant that financial transactions from Ghana to the EU and vice versa were subject to greater scrutiny to ensure that they did not escape the “deficiencies” identified in the profit of money launderers and terrorist financiers.
A similar action was carried out in Ghana in 2019.