BoG, police arrest 76 illegal forex operators

The Bank of Ghana and the Ghana Police Service yesterday conducted a special operation on foreign exchange (forex) parallel market operators (black market operators) at Rawlings Park, Tudu, Cowlane, Circle, Kimbu, Timber Market and Lava.

The operation succeeded in the arrest of about 76 culprits who would soon face prosecution.

This special operation was part of the Bank’s overall strategy to sanitise the foreign exchange market.

Other measures being put in place include enforcement of compliance by licensed foreign exchange bureaux, particularly with the taking of customer identification (Ghana Card) and issuance of electronic receipts for every transaction, intensified public sensitisation and media engagements to educate the general public on forex rules and regulations, including the need to avoid the black market; etc.

Addressing journalists after the exercise, the Head of the Foreign Exchange Bureau Examinations Office at the Bank of Ghana, Adjoa Konadu Torto, indicated that the exercise would continue in other parts of the country in the coming days.

She maintained that members of the public who patronise the activities of ‘Black Market’ operators were equally guilty before the law.

“The purpose of the operation was to clamp down on individuals and entities engaging in the business of buying and selling foreign exchange without a license from [the] Bank of Ghana in violation of Ghana’s foreign exchange laws and regulations,” she explained.

She cautioned the general public to desist from engaging in illegal foreign exchange business without a license.

“The general public must always trade with the Bank of Ghana licensed foreign exchange (forex) bureaux. Accordingly, the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2020 (Act 1044) as amended, instructs all bureau customers to insist on their electronic receipts by providing the acceptable valid ID, the Ghana Card, to cover the buying and selling of all foreign currencies,” she added.

According to Section 3 of the Violation of Foreign Exchange Act & Regulation: “A person shall not engage in the business of dealing in foreign exchange without a license,” and Section 29 (1a):

“A person who engages in the business of dealing in foreign exchange without a license commits an offence and is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of not more than seven hundred penalty units or a term of imprisonment of not more than eighteen months, or both.”

Also, Section 1 (i & ii) of the Revised Forex Bureau Regulations, 2003 (BOG NOTICE NO.  BG/GOV/SEC/2003/2), states that “No person shall carry on any forex bureau business unless he/she is in possession of a valid forex bureau license.

A person who contravenes or fails to comply shall be guilty of an offence and shall be dealt with in accordance with the law.”

BoG has, therefore, caution the general public to desist from engaging in foreign exchange business without a license, adding that anyone who patronises the activities of black market operators are equally guilty before the law.

The Bank also used the opportunity to remind the general public that reference to Bank of Ghana Notice Number BG BG/GOV/SEC/2019/07 pricing, advertising, paying or receiving payment for goods and services in foreign currency in Ghana is an offence punishable by law.

Such violations are punishable on summary conviction, by a fine of up to 700 penalty units or a prison term of not more than eighteen months, or both. The sole legal tender in Ghana is the Ghana Cedi and Ghana Pesewa.


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