Security agencies must collaborate effectively in asset recovery from criminals in the country, Ms Diana Asonaba Dapaah, the Deputy Attorney General, has stated.
She said assets recovery remained the kernel of the fight against serious and organised crimes as it deprived criminals of the profits of their criminal endeavours.
“The recovery of illicitly-obtained assets linked to criminal activities both within and outside the jurisdiction of a country can provide developing counties like Ghana with resources needed to undertake high-priority development projects,”she added.
She said this when she launched the Asset Recovery and Management Policy Framework in Accra yesterday aimed at improving asset recovery practices in Ghana.
The programme, funded by German Cooperation (GIZ) and the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, was attended by officials from the EOCO, Financial Intelligence Centre, Ghana Revenue Authority, Narcotics Control Commission, Criminal Investigation Department, Ghana Police Service and the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
She said the policy would strengthen the current systems on asset recovery and management in the fight against corruption and all forms of acquisitive crimes.
“Admittedly, the success of the modern legal framework is making it possible for corrupt persons to be arrested and prosecuted, resulting in assets of such persons being seized and accounts frozen by competent jurisdiction, ”she added.
The Executive Director of EOCO, Commissioner of Police MaameYaaTiwaaAddoDanquah, said the policy framework would provide a robust asset recovery and management regime which would respond to the demands of our domestic and international obligationsso far as the fight against crime was concerned.
She said car parks of law enforcement agencies were littered with seized and impounded vehicles connected to crime.
“With time, these restrained vehicles are left to rot away under the harsh conditions of the weather with very little or no value to salvage at the end of the criminal justice process,” she added.
She said to address deficiencies and to whip Ghanaians asset recovery and management regime in line with international best practices, the Law Enforcement Coordinating Bureau (LECOB), tasked EOCO to spearhead the process for the adoption and operationalisation of a harmonised regime on Asset Recovery and Management.
The National Security Minister, MrKanDapaah,said the asset recovery and management policy framework would help fight economic and organised crime.
“The absence of a comprehensive policy framework to govern the recovery and management of assets over the years has robbed our country from maximising benefits from the work of the institutions,” he said.
The Country Director of GIZ, Ms Regina Bauerochse Barbosa, said the policy was crucial as Ghana was losing huge amounts of money through illicit financial flow amounting to$340 million annually since 2015.
“These funds are urgently needed for public services such as health and education,” she said.
She said confiscation of illegality acquired assets was crucial in the fight against organised crime, as criminal convictions without confiscation and restitution of asset would not deter criminals.
The Deputy Head of Mission of the British High Commission, Mr Keith McMahon, commended EOCO for “recovering GH¢27 million for the past 10 months” and assured them of collaboration to discharge their duties.
As part of the occasion, the frameworkimplementation committee was inaugurated.
BY ANITA NYARKO-YIRENKYI