Mobile money transaction needs forensic audit - Security Expert

Mr Samuel Thompson Essel, Chief Executive Officer, Financial Intelligence Centre on Thursday called for a comprehensive audit of mobile money platforms in Ghana.

“This may include financial audit, AML audit and security audit to ensure that mobile money operators comply with regulatory requirements as well as the Anti-money laundering Act,” he added.

Mr Essel made the call at a two-day workshop on cash handling and security in Accra, which brought together financial and non-financial companies to discuss security challenges arising from cash handling and mobile money operations and other emerging payments system.

He noted that cash handling practices are exposed to various security risks including currency counterfeiting, cheque clearing problems, cheque cloning and robbery attacks.

Mr Essel said the introduction of Bank of Ghana’s policy on cash-lite banking, new payment system including, online banking, e-switch, credit card, non-face to face transactions have emerged across the financial sector.

He explained that the introduction of the mobile money system is intended to enhance financial inclusion and consolidate national cash-lite agenda, but analyst has predicted that the system would grow in the coming years to become in-country payment system.

Mr Essel stressed said the growth rate of the mobile money in the country may be a challenge in the years ahead in dealing with money laundering, adding that the abuse of the system would increase if concurrent steps are not taken.

He explained that the Bank of Ghana has introduced new guidelines to regulate the mobile money system operations to ensure that electronic money is only provided by a financial institution, licensed under the Banking Act, 2004(Act 673).

Mr Essel said evidence has showed that registration of SIM cards by the telecom companies has not entirely prevented criminals from accessing mobile networks to perpetuate fraud.

He called for the enforcement of existing legal instruments such as the Electronic Transactions Act (Act 772) since they serve as key for ensuring efficient administration of mobile money operations.

Mr Albert Antwi-Boasiako, Founder of E-Crime Bureau said the Bureau is a private organisation established in 2011 that specialises in cyber security and cyber forensics services in West Africa.

He said the workshop would discuss issues related to security challenges in cash handling and come out with initiative aimed at reforming the law to suit emerging security risks.

Captain Joseph Baba Awuni (Rtd), Security Expert urged the public to be vigilant in handling cash in public since they could be targeted by robbers.