Fraud and Money Laundering prevention strategist, Richard Kumadoe, has cautioned banks and other financial institutions to be on the alert in the wake of the introduction of the improved GH?50 notes.
The Bank of Ghana (BoG) on Tuesday officially launched the GH?50 into circulation and said the old notes would run concurrently with the new notes until September 30, 2012. Thereafter the old notes will cease to be legal tender and can only be exchanged in the banks.
However, Mr. Kumadoe, who is the Executive Director of Quest Services Ltd ? a due diligence & risk management center, told CITY & BUSINESS GUIDE that money launderers and counterfeit dealers might capitalise on the September 30 deadline to perpetrate fraud.
He said the banks and other financial institutions must endeavour to install the appropriate devices that detect any attempt by fraudsters ?to place and integrate their illegitimate and counterfeit GH?50.00 in the financial systems in Ghana.?
?Money launderers and fraudsters may engage in smurfing and segregation practices by assigning themselves to the various cities with either large or small sums of the GH?50.00 as part of their usual financial transactions in order to disguise, convert and conceal counterfeits they might have been engaging in before and after the September 2012, deadline.?
He said the crusade against the global menace of money laundering and fraud is of great concern to all financial systems and measures and strategies to curb it must be uniform.
Mr. Kumadoe said banks should encourage the front liners (tellers) and operation staff to follow approved procedures and policies by ensuring that all monies are passed through appropriate detecting devices before acceptance and also must be alert at all times to effectively identify and detect unusual transactions.
He called for efficient collaboration and co-ordination of efforts by all stakeholders in Ghana and sub-Sahara Africa in the global fight against money laundering and fraud, as it undermines economic policies and stability.
According to the BoG, the upgraded GH?50 denomination, which would replace the notes currently in circulation, was introduced to curb what the Central Bank termed as counterfeiting.
The number 50 at the bottom of the front on the new GH? 50 is now green instead of gold and it bears the signature of Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, the previous Governor who became the Vice President.
It also comes with a public recognition feature called spark in the form of a green cocoa pod at the bottom right hand corner of the banknote and that feature replaces the hologram on the old note.
By William Yaw Owusu