GHANA: MEDIA IN GHANA’S ASHANTI REFUSE TO DISCUSS ALLEGED MONEY LAUNDERING OF OVERLORD

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Asantene and Prince Charles

Local media in Ghana’s Ashanti region, the administrative region of the Ashantis, are reportedly tightlipped over the alleged failure of the Traditional Ruler of Ashanti to follow Anti Money Laundering (AML) measures, when he deposited money into his private account in the United Kingdom (U.K.), causing a national to lose his job.

The media blackout is uncharacteristic  of the West African nation’s media. Ghana is one of the countries on the subregion with high media penetration. The media on a daily basis discuss all issues, sometimes to the displeasure of political officeholders.

The Overlord of Ghana’s biggest ethnic group has been named as triggering money laundering charges, resulting in the suspension and subsequent dismissal of a native working for the Ghana International Bank in the United Kingdom, Mark Arthur.

Arthur has since been under investigation at the U.K’s National Crime Agency for abetting money laundering. He is reported to have deposited a total of £350,000 (in denominations of £200,000 and $200,000) into the Traditional Ruler’s private account without the appropriate compliance procedures and related due diligence.

He is yet to be cleared of the charges but he insists he has been wrongfully dismissed for blowing the whistle. His superior Joseph Mensah, the Chief Executive of the bank, told investigators he (Arthur) didn’t seek the needed authorisation, even though the accused insists he cleared the transaction with him.

It is unknown whether the traditional ruler is paid for his leadership of the Ashantis. However, the Ashanti territory is endowed with fertile land and mineral resources, attracting both local and international investment. Despite the existence of a family head, once elected, the Paramount Chief becomes the principal administrator of its wealth.

Our local sources also indicate many investors in the region and the entire country are known to be donating huge sums of money to the palace as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility. The Palace also receives royalties from businesses operating in the region. Last year, the Chief ordered all land owners in the region to pay specified rates to the Palace or lose their entitlement to lands in the region.

Local journalists claim the Ashanti leader is a farmer and also has interests in mining concerns. The Overlord administers all stool lands in the enclave and holds a percentage in all lands sold in the territories.

A feeling among “Palace Watchers”  is that if the Chief broke any laws, he would have been invited for questioning by the British authorities.

They believe the Palace will not treat the story with any seriousness, knowing it will pass in a matter of days.

It is unclear whether he was able to carry the sum of £350,000 to the United Kingdom without detection because he traveled on a diplomatic passport, as he allegedly claimed in the story.

Ghana was once a colony in the British empire and maintains a close link to the country.

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