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25 Banks flout law

                                Only five banks out the 30 have transferred their records to the Public Records and Archives Administration (PRAAD) as required by the law. They are namely, Ecobank Ghana, Standard Chartered Bank Limited, Stanbic Bank, Bank of Africa and the Universal Merchant Bank.

A source at the PRAAD told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS in Accra, that the level of compliance by the various financial institutions in the country to transfer their records to the PRAAD for further retention was low.

Per the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2008, Act 749, the banks are required to send their records to the PRAAD six years after the date on which a business relationship is terminated or the date after a transaction is concluded.

"If the financial institutions are complying with their own law and we are generating revenue, we will get to where we should be. PRAAD is sitting on gold," the source said.

The Act states that the National Records Centre under the PRAAD shall maintain a register of account table institutions.

It also states that an accountable institution that establishes a business relationship with a person shall keep records of, (a) the identity of the person or the agent of the person; (b) transaction made through the accountable institution, and (c) suspicious transaction reports made to the Centre.

It adds that, "(2) For the purposes of this Act, records may be kept on a computer system or an electronic device capable of being used to store information. (3) This section applies to each single transaction with an accountable institution."

Limited capacity

However, due to limited space, the PRAAD is cautious in enforcing its mandate.

"The challenge is that we don't have the storage facilities so now if they decide to bring their records, what at are we going to do? How are we going to keep them? Do we have the facilities?" the source asked. 

He said there were numerous traditional banks coupled with the micro financial intuitions and other non-banking institutions, and so if all of them were to bring their records at the same time, it would be a problem.

"Twenty years after setting up the department and looking at the volume of documents here, there will be the need to expand. Government should help us expand because we are the custodians of the collective memory of Ghana," the source said. 

Functions of PRAAD

The PRAAD was established under the PRAAD Instrument, 1996 (L.I. 1628) to be responsible for the proper and effective management of records in public institutions of government to which the Act applies.

The department's role includes ensuring that public offices, institutions and individuals who create and maintain public records follow good record keeping practices; and establishing and implementing procedures for the timely disposal of public records of continuing value.

Importance of a records centre

A records centre provides safe and environmentally controlled security for inactive records for as long as their retention is required.

Processes are put in place to ensure that when a record is needed, it can be easily located, retrieved, used and then safely returned to storage.

However, when a record's retention is no longer required, correct disposition procedures are followed.
                                        

Source: Graphic.com.gh
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Author: Narh Ebenezer Albidar

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