On Wednesday, July 10, 2019, the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) held its maiden Stakeholder Engagement on the theme “Combating Organised Crime in Ghana – A Shared Responsibility”.
The Stakeholder Engagement was organised to interact and share information on some cases the office has investigated, prosecutions and convictions obtained as well as recoveries and confiscations. In addition, to provide an opportunity for stakeholders to offer a constructive assessment and evaluate the Office’s operations since its inception.
Speaking at the event, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Hon. Gloria A. Akuffo noted that the engagement was held at an opportune time adding that it would demystify the mystery surrounding the activities of the Office.
Delivering the keynote address, Hon. Gloria Akuffo indicated that good investigation thrives on good information. She then called on the general public to access the offices of EOCO and offer useful information without fear. Hon. Gloria Akuffo assured the public of the passage of the witness protection act which provides adequate protection to vulnerable witnesses who may testify in very sensitive cases.
The Hon. Attorney-General further called for the support and cooperation of the media in the fight against organised crime. Hon. Gloria Akuffo quickly added that the media should be circumspect in their reportage because the commentary ran in the media turns to prejudice the work of investigators.
The Executive Director, COP Frank Adu-Poku (Rtd.) also reiterated the fact that EOCO engaging stakeholders is appropriate to address public curiosity and interest in the operations of the Office. He further indicated that for the past eight (8) years, EOCO received a total number of 1,855 cases for investigations that involved tax fraud, personation, defrauding by false pretenses, money laundering, procurement fraud, prohibited cyber among others. Out of the number of reported cases one Hundred and Two (102) cases were prosecuted and twelve (12) convictions were obtained.
COP Adu-Poku (Rtd.) added that the Office recovered and confiscated a total amount of Ninety-Nine Million, One Hundred and Sixty-Five Thousand and Three Hundred and Sixty-Nine Ghana cedis and Twenty-Nine Pesewas (GH₵99,165,369.29).
The Chairperson for the event, Sir Dennis Dominic Adjei told officers of the Office to uphold integrity. He added that for EOCO to be successful in combating organised crime, its integrity and the integrity of its officers should not be in doubt.
During the panelists assessments, it became evident that EOCO needs to become a fully fledge independent public office.
The event was sponsored by EU funded Accountability, Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Programme (ARAP) in partnership with Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) and Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).