Ghana’s anti-graft body, the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), is celebrating surpassing its 2023 target with a total recovery of GH¢232,092,763.03 million in Direct and Indirect proceeds of crime.
Notably, the EOCO’s report lacks specifics on the nature, perpetrators, timeline, and amounts involved in the economic offences.
While, the act of naming and shaming is vital in combating crime, it is remarkably absent in the EOCO’s published desk story.
The website article fails to mention the destination of the recovered GH¢232,092,763.03 million and any plans for prosecuting the offenders.
EOCO operates under the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General’s Department.
It said it made a total recovery of GH¢232,092,763.03 million being Direct and Indirect recoveries from proceeds of crime.
Interestingly, it did not mention the nature of economics committed by who, how, when and the amount involved.
Naming and shaming are critical aspects of combating crime; however, these appear missing in a desk story published by the EOCO.
The story on the website of EOCO, also did not mention where the amount retrieved had been lodged and whether there were plans to prosecute the offenders.
“Speaking to the EOCO News Desk on this great achievement, the Executive Director; COP Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Danquah, extended her gratitude to the Management Team and all Officers of EOCO who made this great feat possible”, the publication said.
“She also stated that in 2024, EOCO intends to improve on its recoveries, sensitization programmes on Prohibited Cyber Activity, Gaming, the use of social media and cyberbullying.
“Additionally, the Public Affairs Unit extended its sensitization programmes to a total of One Hundred and Thirty Thousand, Two Hundred and Ninety-Four (130,294) students from various schools across the country.
“This is made up of Sixty-Eight Thousand, Eight Hundred and Seventy-Eight (68,878) females and Sixty-One Thousand, Four Hundred and Sixteen (61,416) males.
“This excludes programmes held at the regional levels, on national television, markets, religious institutions and selected communities.
This coming from a former head of the Police Criminal Investigations (CID) who went on national television falsely declaring the missing “Takoradi Girls,” found alive in Nigeria.
Bones of the three missing girls were later found when they had not, and later reported dead, with bones found in a septic tank in the Tokaradi vicinity of western Ghana, scepticism arises about her claims, casting doubt on the substantial sums she asserted to have recovered.
This comes as the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) has officially transferred the investigation into the financial affairs and assets of former Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, along with her associates, to EOCO to deal with money laundering.
In a statement issued yesterday, Thursday, January 25, 2024, the OSP stated that no direct and immediate evidence of corruption has been found in the seized funds and frozen bank accounts linked to Ms. Dapaah and her associates after nearly seven months of extensive investigation by it and a parallel inquiry by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States (US).
“The investigation has identified strong indications of suspected money laundering and structuring. While the OSP acknowledges these suspected offences, they do not fall directly within the mandate of the Office. By law, the office cannot investigate, prosecute nor recover proceeds of crime except those that fall within corruption and corruption-related offences as defined under section 79 of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959).”
“In compliance with section 3 of Act 959, which mandates the OSP to cooperate and coordinate with other law enforcement agencies, the case has been transferred to EOCO for further investigation,” it stated.
The OSP underscored that in August 2023, the OSP acted by freezing Ms. Dapaah’s bank accounts and confiscating $590,000 and GH¢2.73 million from her residence after news of the theft of a substantial amount of cash in cedis and foreign currencies went viral.
“Until today, the Office has been in court to confirm the frozen bank accounts and confirm the seized monies for longer periods pending the outcome of investigations. A portion of the inquiry was entrusted to the FBI due to allegations suggesting involvement of transfer of funds from the United States,” it added.