12.04.2005 General News

Cyber law in the offing

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Accra, April 12, GNA - A law to fight the growing trend of cyber crime is to be promulgated before the end of the year, Mr Ayikoi Otoo, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a seminar on crime prevention and criminal justice, Mr Otoo said the legislative drafting department of the Ministry, with the assistance of British and United States experts, was putting together a draft that would address current developments in the use of information communication technology to prevent fraud.

A preparatory Committee set up by the Minister of Communication is currently deliberating on the Electronic Transactions Bill and the Computer Misuse Bill.

The seminar, which was organised by the United Nations System in Ghana, is in preparation for the 11th crime congress to be held in Bangkok, Thailand later in April.

It is on the theme: "Synergies and Response: Strategies, Alliances in Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice." Mr Otoo said sophistication in technology was making detection and fighting of crime difficult and this called for the building of effective alliances among countries and law enforcement agencies to be able to combat crime.

He called for laws and the harmonisation of the legal environment across countries that would make crime unrewarding to deter people from engaging in it.

"Everything must be done so people would not see crime as attractive or a business venture, even if it means confiscating property of convicted criminals," he said.

Mr Otoo also stressed the need for the country to ratify international treaties and protocols on crime prevention. Mr Emmanuel Asiedu-Mante, First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, said the increasing sophistication of crime called for a good balance between data protection of clients and know-your-customer concept. He said monies acquired by criminals could be easily legitimised in economies with weak legal and regulatory frameworks.

This, he said, had the tendency of damaging the integrity of the financial system and hampering the inflow of foreign direct investments as genuine investors tended to move away from economies with history of money laundering.

Mr Theophilus Codjoe, Acting Executive Director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), said corruption should be seen as more of a crime than a moral issue in the country.

He called for tougher laws to help address the corruption in the country.

"I believe in putting people found to have engaged in corrupt practice in prison."

Mr Codjoe called for multi-lateral action to address cross border crimes and child trafficking in the West Africa Sub-Region. Papa Owusu-Ankomah, Minister of the Interior, in a speech read on his behalf, called on governments in the Sub-Region to provide financial support in the effort to effectively dismantle the criminal networks and structures.

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