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BoG revokes licences of Trade House and Airportcity forex bureaus

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has revoked the licence of two forex bureaus for breaching foreign exchange laws.

The affected forex bureaus are Trade House Forex Bureaus Limited and Airportcity Forex Bureaus Limited.

The two forex bureaus are under the same ownership and were detected by a mystery shopping exercise by the central bank.

The firms were closed down in accordance with the provisions of Sections 11 (1) and 12 (f) of the Foreign Exchange Act 2006 (723), the Bank of Ghana

Head of Other Financial Institutions Supervision Department at the BoG, Mr Yaw Sarpong explained that the forex bureaus were closed for non-compliance with rules governing the operations of foreign exchange bureaux including directive on customer identification and issuance of electronic receipt.

He noted that BoG reserves the right to revoke the licence of any forex bureau if: in the Bank’s opinion, the conduct of any forex bureaux is detrimental to the success of the Forex Bureau Scheme.

According to him, the exercise targeted at ensuring sanity in the forex market is expected to continue across Accra.

Mr  Sarpong noted that they were not issuing electronic receipts and not requesting valid proof of identity.

He said the “two bureaux on several occasions have been found not to be complying.”

“The way they set their prices are detrimental and we think that the licenses of the two bureaux have to be revoked,” he added.

As part of measures to enforce compliance by all licensed Forex Bureaus with the Forex Bureau Regulations issued in accordance with the Foreign Exchange Act, 2006 (Act 723), and the provisions of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2008 (Act 749) as amended, the Bank of Ghana issued a notice to all licensed Forex Bureaus and the General Public.

Per the notice, all purchases and sales of forex must be captured electronically and receipted accordingly by licensed Forex Bureaus.

In addition, all customers must provide valid national identification or other valid personal ID such as Voter’s ID, Passport or Driver’s License when engaging in forex transactions with Forex Bureau.

The BoG directed that all licensed Forex Bureaus must submit the required monthly returns electronically to the Bank of Ghana within five working days after the end of the month.

The guidelines also required all licensed Forex Bureaus  to complete and submit a license renewal questionnaire two (2) months before the expiration of the current license.

The questionnaire must be submitted together with attachments namely,  copy of tax clearance certificate, copy of insurance certificate, extract of audited accounts, bank statements and proof of filing of annual returns at the Registrar General’s Department.

The regulator tasked all licensed Forex Bureaus to comply with the provisions of the Data Protection Act, 2012 (Act 843) and must register with the Data Protection Commission of the Ministry of Communication as a key requirement for annual license renewal.

It warned that any person found transacting business with an unlicensed Forex Bureau or illegal forex dealers shall be dealt with in accordance with the Laws of Ghana.

The Bank of Ghana further cautioned that failure to comply with the notice shall attract penalties, including pecuniary sanctions, suspension, and revocation of license.

However, some forex bureaus are breaching the law by now complying with the regulation.

While the BoG is struggling to shore up the cedi against the major foreign currencies, some forex bureaus and black market operators keep acting in ways to weaken the cedi.

In 2019, BoG closed down Aero Cash forex bureau for failing to provide relevant documents to the regulator to establish the legality of their operations.

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