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Finance Minister scolds Bank of Guyana over poor monitoring

Governor of the Bank of Guyana, Dr. Gobind Ganga.

Finance Minister, Winston Jordan has scolded the top brass of the Bank of Guyana for its lax monitoring and oversight of the country’s foreign exchange market and anti-money laundering regime.

Jordan last week made his views known to the Central Bank’s board of directors against the background of the recent alleged GYD$900 million fraud by a gold dealer and miner against the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) and involving Citizen Bank cheques, and the recent shortage of foreign currency that resulted in the slide in the value of the Guyana dollar.

“There needed to be stronger monitoring of the financial sector. As you are aware, anti-money laundering is a big issue and things like those, they leave question marks on the adequacy of the supervision banks,” he  told Demerara Waves Online News.

In confirming that he discussed his concerns with the Bank of Guyana Board, the Finance Minister said he charged them to craft a strategic plan that would include a new organisational framework and “getting more involved in the supervision of the bank itself.”

Jordan said he called on the Central Bank to pay close attention to financial crimes and the foreign currency market “because these are challenging times.”

Demerara Waves Online News was told that the Finance Minister was very harsh in his criticisms of the way the Bank of Guyana is being managed, but he opted to say that he had “more than a friendly conversation with the Board.”

Asked whether there would soon be a new Central Bank Governor, he said the current office holder, Dr. Gobin Ganga’s contract expires either in 2019 or 2020. “No, I don’t think any Governor is on the cards at the moment, not in the context of his contract.”

Meanwhile, in a joint statement by the Ministry of Finance and the Private Sector Commission, Minister Jordan was quoted as assuring that his ministry “was actively examining ways to strengthen the Bank including reviewing legislation and expanding the Board.

Jordan reportedly extended an invitation to the PSC for a representative to be part of the Board once the legislation was in place.