Ghana cited as major transit point for illicit gold trade

Originally, a company focused on safety standards, has identified Ghana as one of the major transit points for illegal gold trading.

In addition to Sudan, Ethiopia, and Uganda, Ghana is said to have significant routes for illegal gold trading with Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, and India as export destinations.

Local gold refineries are also being used to launder gold from illicit sources in the artisanal mining sector that involves millions of people and forced labor.

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The report noted that over $6 billion worth of gold exports remains unaccounted for between Ghana and its three major gold trading partners – Switzerland, India, and the United Arab Emirates – from 2013 to 2016.

The amount of unaccounted gold could rise if all export and import data between Ghana and its gold trading partners were examined.

Ghana loses over $2 billion annually in unpaid royalties and taxes on gold smuggled out of the country.

Illicit gold mining has become a significant source of income for cartels, criminal gangs, and non-state armed groups.

The report revealed that the mineral sector accounts for 17 percent of global threat and conflict finance, compared to drugs at 28 percent.

The report also stated that illicit exports from the African mineral sector alone account for at least USD 31 to 98 billion annually, compared to USD 32 to 62 billion from Latin America.

Companies in the mineral sector typically pay only 0 to 4 percent tax on official amounts.

The report follows an investigative piece by Aljazeera that recently sparked debate about how some Ghanaian officials could be involved in illicit gold trades and money laundering activities.

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