Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gov’t tackles organized crime

Ebo Barton-Oduro, Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice in Ghana.

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By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday November 18, 2010.
The Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Ebo Barton-Oduro has reiterated the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government’s commitment to partner other governments in the West African sub-region to fight economic and organized crime.
He said the nature of crimes currently being committed had become sophisticated and noted that no country can fight such crimes alone.

Mr. Barton-Oduro was speaking at a three-day workshop to build the capacity of prosecuting state attorneys to be able to deal with challenges of organized crime in the law courts.

It is being attended by over 70 state attorneys from the Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone and topics they will tackle include money laundering, criminal asset tracing seizure, drug and human trafficking and cyber crime among others.

The Deputy Attorney General said organized crime particularly money laundering and other cyber frauds are posing “an increasing challenge to the criminal justice system across the world” and there is the need for prosecutors to build their capacities to be able to nip such societal ills in the bud.

He noted the activities of those involved in organized crime impede accelerated development but said with total collaboration and commitment, the menace can be tackled.

Mr. Barton-Oduro urged the state attorneys to take advantage of the workshop to equip themselves with the requisite skills needed in fighting economic and organized crime and pledged government’s commitment to fight the threat.

Roger Coventry, Criminal Justice Advisor at the British High Commission in Accra, one of the resource persons said the Ghana government should strive to implement its commitments toward global efforts in the fight against economic and organized crime.
He said those involved in organized crime look for countries and regions where there are weak laws and poor security networks to operate.

Mr. Coventry said the rush for money and power are the underlying factors of transnational crime saying “when tackling organized crime do not look at it from just the demand side…look at it from the supply side as well.”

He said for instance, more people are dying in the West African sub-region from counterfeited drugs saying “unless we do something about the situation, the region will continue to fall victim to transnational crime all the time.”

“These things cause damage to our society but once we have the laws we have to make them work.”

Turning to the state attorneys, Mr. Coventry said “you have public functions to perform regardless of the country you live in. Know about transnational crime and put yourselves in a better position to deal with it.”

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