The Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) has saved about GHc¢99.2 million to the state, being proceeds of organised crimes perpetuated from 2014 to March 2019.
The crimes, among others, included default in tax payments, bank and payroll fraud, prohibited cyber activities, defrauding by false pretences and money laundering.
According to the office, out of a total of 1,855 cases received within the period for investigations, 102 were prosecuted, four cases discharged with 12 convictions secured.
Commissioner of Police (COP) Frank Adu-Poku (Rtd), Executive Director of EOCO, made the revelation yesterday at a stakeholders’ meeting to bring the public up to speed with operations of the office.
Held on the theme, ‘Combating Organised Crime in Ghana: A shared responsibility’, the forum was also to open up EOCO for constructive review, criticism and evaluation over the years, to set it on a much stronger path moving forward.
It was sponsored by the EU-funded Accountability, Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Programme (ARAP) in partnership with the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) and Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).
COP Adu-Poku mentioned cases including the Republic versus Messrs Maurice Asola-Fadola, Eric Afoakwa, Christopher Nimako, Mathias Appiah and Ms Mandy Afari Gyan respectively, in which culprits were convicted, monies retrieved and assets confiscated to the state.
He also pointed out other cases investigated by EOCO, and currently being prosecuted directly by the office of the Attorney-General, with others under the purview of the Narcotic Control Board (NACOB).
“In all six cases that the office had joint confiscation hearings with NACOB, the convicts whose properties are in issue, have appealed to the Court of Appeal and these matters are all pending,” he disclosed.
Alluding to the fact that the office could have achieved more for the country but for operational and structural challenges it confronted, the Executive Director said, EOCO was poised to succeed on its new path of operating an open door policy.
“In keeping with our new policy, we have come out with a client service charter to continuously engage our stakeholders on what we do and our expectations from them to better deliver on our mandate.”
Making a remark, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Gloria Afua Akuffo, indicated that for the country to develop, crime must be dealt with in accordance with the tenets of democracy, charging prosecutors to be thorough in their investigations.
The decision of EOCO to run an open-door policy, she noted, was critical to obtain needed information from the public for speedy investigations saying, “EOCO’s opening up is not only for people to find out what goes on behind closed doors, but for the provision of good information because good investigation thrives on good information.”
The AG, however, cautioned the office to be circumspect in releasing information to the public, warning that “criminals are always waiting to cover their tracks, so giving out information constantly can aid them execute their work with ease”.
Team leader for ARAP, Ana Sanchez, believed a good understanding of the work of EOCO would enable the public to support the office to discharge its mandate.
She lauded EOCO for its new policy direction, indicating that it was in line with the work of ARAP to promote strong citizen-government engagement, ensure accountability, maintain rule of law and anti-corruption.
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH AND DEBORAH ASUMA