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09.02.2007 General News

Ghana, UNODC Sign 2 Pacts

By Samuel Nuamah
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The government yesterday signed two agreements in Accra with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) that will take the country’s fight against illicit trafficking in drugs and arms as well as money laundering to a higher plane.

The Global Container Control Programme Agreement will ensure the creation of a joint port control team, consisting of different law enforcement agencies to inspect containers arriving at the country’s sea ports based on risk indicators at the highest international levels.

The Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Agreement, on the other hand, aims at supporting the anti-money laundering efforts in the country by enhancing specialised knowledge, legislative framework and operational capability.

Albert Kan-Dapaah, Minister of the Interior and Kwame Osei-Prempeh, Deputy Attorney-General, signed the global container agreement and the anti-money laundering agreement respectively while Antonio Mazzitelli, UNODC Regional Representative for West and Central Africa, initialled for his outfit.

Mr Kan-Dapaah stated that the signing of the agreement on the global container control programme, a joint project of the UNODC and the World Customs Organisation, makes Ghana, after Senegal and Ecuador to benefit from the programme.

He said the project was similar to the Operation West Bridge currently being implemented at the Kotoka International Airport and explained that while Operation West Bridge was for the airport and a partnership between the United Kingdom and Ghana, the container project was for the sea ports and in partnership with the UN.

The minister noted that the project has the added advantage of providing specialised skill training, enhancing the operational and logistical capacity as well as intelligence gathering and information sharing among the law enforcement agencies.

Mr Osei-Prempeh, for his part, noted that anti-terrorism financing counter-measures adopted by the international community following the September 11 terrorist attacks have pushed criminal networks and terrorist groups to move their money laundering operational outfits to countries with weak financial control systems.

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