Ms Gloria Afua Akuffo, the Attorney-General has asked the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to open itself to the public but to avoid running commentary on its investigations.
According to her speaking in public about their investigations could only frustrates their efforts as well as give out too much information to criminals to change their mode of operations.
“Criminals are always waiting to cover their tracks and therefore coming out to speak constantly about a matter, makes it easier for them to cover up and therefore frustrating the outcome of the investigations,” she stressed.
She advised that the statutory body should avoid following rumours and suspicions so as not to not embarrass themselves.
Ms Akuffo said this at EOCO’s maiden national stakeholders’ forum in Accra aimed at interacting with stakeholders and share information on cases investigated, prosecutions and convictions obtained as well as recoveries and confiscations made.
The forum formed part of EOCO’s efforts to deepen stakeholders’ understanding of its operations and to provide the opportunity for constructive review and evaluation of the institution since its inception.
It was under the theme, “Combating Organised Crime in Ghana: A shared Responsibility” and was sponsored by the EU-funded Accountability, Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Programme (ARAP), in partnership with the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) and Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).
The Attorney-General announced that the Witness protection Act made provision for vulnerable witnesses to be taken outside the country for protection, even if it meant changing the appearance of the person a little for the sake of protection.
She said organized crime has become a social canker, which needed to be dealt with and at the same time “holding our democracy high” and urged Ghanaians to collaborate with investigators to enable them to be part of problem solving.
Ms Akuffo also solicited the support of the media in the fight against organised crime and corruption.
COP Frank Adu-Poku (Rtd), the Executive Director for EOCO, said from 20 14 to March 2019, the outfit recovered GHC99, 165,369.29 being proceeds of crime.
He said ”These are resources which otherwise could have been dissipated and lost to the State”.
He announced that during the same period a total of 1,855 cases have been investigated among which included tax fraud, personation, defrauding by false pretences, money laundering, prohibited cyber activities, bank fraud, payroll fraud and human trafficking.
COP Adu-Poku (Rtd) noted that majority of cases were on prohibited cyber activity including romance scams where many of the youth engaged their foreign victims online and succeed in ripping them off of huge sums of money usually in foreign currencies.
The event was attended by the representatives of the Ghana Integrity Initiative, Transparency International, Institute of Economic Affairs, STAR Ghana, CHRAJ, NCCE, PIAC, Office of the Special Prosecutor, Ghana Police Service, Financial Intelligence Centre, Bank of Ghana, Ghana Immigration Service and Food and Drugs Authority, among others.