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11.11.2004 Crime & Punishment

There must be specific legislation to fight E-Fraud

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Accra, Nov. 11, GNA- A proposal has gone for a specific legislation in Ghana's criminal code to address the issue of electronic and advanced fee fraud if the country is to improve its socio-economic standing. Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Kofi Boakye, Greater Accra Regional Commander, who made the call said a specific legislation that spelt-out the terms of punishment, the mode of disposal of assets acquired from such fraudulent practices among others, was needed if the country was to seriously deal with the menace.

He was speaking at a lecture on "E-Fraud, Internet Trade and the Future of the Book Trade in Ghana," organized by the Ghana Booksellers Association to create awareness among members and how they could curb it.

Mr Boakye said the current legislative environment, was unable to deal with the new crime because the country's criminal code had no sections properly targeted at fighting e-fraud.

"The practice now is to tackle E-fraud cases as civil offences and not as criminal ones. This is because the current criminal code did not take into account the use of technology such as the Internet to commit fraud."

However, Mr Boakye said the rapid growth in the use of technology worldwide, such as the Internet, had opened up individual and institutions to be duped by criminals in search of acquiring money in an easy was and that there was the need to get tougher laws to deal with the problem.

He said economic crime had the tendency to destabilise government institutions and curtails investment inflows, if the country was notorious for the perpetration of such crimes.

Mr Boakye said those who succumb to the advances of such fraud were those with the "inordinate desire to be rich" and. He therefore advised the public to be cautious of "schemes that offer risk free benefits".

Mr Gibrine Adam, Managing Director, EPP Books asked Ghanaian booksellers to be cautious about e-commerce, because of the underdeveloped banking infrastructure to support both the debit and credit card systems.

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