Two institutions to help quantify monies lost to cybercrime in ECOWAS

Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful

Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful

Two European organisations, the Council of Europe (COE) and European EU are supporting the member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to ascertain the amount of monies lost to cybercrime annually in the sub-region.

Senior Programme Officer of the Global Action on Cybercrime Extended (GLACY+), Elvio Salomon told the Times Business  in an interview after the Advanced Judicial Training course on Cybercrime and Electronic Evidence for judges, magistrates and prosecutors of the Anglophone countries of the ECOWAS Region, that  the support is under the GLACY+ aimed at training law enforcement agents to combat cybercrime.

The three-day programme is being attended by 30 judges, magistrates, and prosecutors from five Anglophone countries, namely Ghana, Gambia, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone and the participants would be taken through the current technology trends and challenges with investigations and prosecutions on cyber crimes.

Mr. Salomon explained that currently it was difficult to quantify the amount of monies lost to cybercrime in the sub-region and it was in that direction that the GLACY+ Project was supporting efforts to collect real data on monies lost to financial crimes.

The Senior Programme Officer of GLACY+, could not immediately provide monies lost to cybercrimes in Europe and America in technology only to state that “monies lost to cybercrimes in Europe and America are in billions”.

Mr Salomon indicated that the GLACY+, which would end in 2021, was being sponsored by the COE and EU to combat cybercrime in the sub-region in view of the threat the criminal activity posed to the region’s development and financial industry.

Currently, he said, individuals engaged in cybercrimes were shifting their focus to Africa in view of the stringent cybercrime laws in Europe and America, hence the need to build the capacity of law enforcement agents in the sub-region to combat the menace.

The Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekufful in a speech read on her behalf by her deputy, Vincent Sowah Odotei, lauded COE and EU for sponsoring a second training for judges, magistrates and prosecutors from the Anglophone countries of ECOWAS.

She said Ghana was in the process to ratify the Budapest and Malabo conventions, indicating that her ministry had submitted a memo to Parliament for the Malabo Convention to be passed into law.

Mrs Owusu-Ekufful said, while the Budapest Convention, stresses on co-operation for the prosecution of cybercrimes, the Malabo Convention, emphasises on data protection, stressing “the two treaties, when finally ratified, are expected to contribute to efforts to improve our response to cybercrimes through international co-operation”.

“As part of the cybercrime awareness creation at the national level, the Ministry of Communication would be organising a national cyber security awareness month in October.  This is expected to bring various stakeholders together to discuss current issues and best practices to create a cyber-risk aware nation,” she said.

The Director General of the Criminal Investigations Department, Deputy Commissioner of Police, (DCOP) Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Danquah said training in the current era was very crucial “if an organisation wants to remain relevant”.

He said cyber space was delicate and dynamic and the industry kept changing by day and there was therefore the need for the law enforcement agencies to be abreast of current trends in the sector to combat cybercrime.

By Kingsley Asare

 

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