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EOCO retrieves GH¢214m proceeds of crime

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The Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) has retrieved more than GH¢214.64 million proceeds of crime as of end of October 2023.

The amount represents almost four times the target for last year.

EOCO had a target of retrieving GH¢60 million proceeds of crime at the end of 2023 but had recovered almost four times the target at the end of the third quarter of the year.

In 2022, EOCO retrieved GH¢50 million from crime proceeds as against a target of GH¢30 million.

The Executive Director of EOCO, Commissioner of Police (COP) Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Danquah, made this known to the Daily Graphic in an exclusive interview.

She said out of the amount recovered, EOCO remitted GH¢35.34 into the Consolidated Fund, while the rest — GH¢179.29 million—was accounted for as indirect recoveries to other institutions from proceeds of crime.

EOCO investigated 570 cases out of which 19 cases were being prosecuted at various courts, COP Addo-Danquah said.

Proceeds of crime

The proceeds of crime included money retrieved from businesses and individuals who under-declared taxes to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and wealth illegally acquired at the expense of state institutions such as the Gaming Commission and the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA).

Proceeds of crime is the term given to money or assets gained by criminals during the course of their criminal activity or illegal wealth acquisition at the expense of the state.
COP Addo-Danquah commended other security agencies for collaborating with the office in the fight against economic and organised crime.

In 2023, the Executive Director said EOCO signed an MoU with the Nigerian law enforcement agency that investigates financial crimes, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), MTN Mobile Money Services Ltd and Enterprise Insurance to strengthen existing collaboration between them.

The National Communications Authority (NCA), COP Addo-Danquah said, supported 12 officials of EOCO to undergo specialised training in the United Kingdom (UK) last year.

Also, she said, the USA supported a number of EOCO staff to participate in various training programmes in Ghana and abroad.

Some of the courses, apart from building human resources, were also to help EOCO to embrace digital technology and strengthen the tracking of cases.

The office, COP Addo-Danquah added, also organised 107 courses for 646 persons, including 14 personnel from other government institutions, and the rest being EOCO staff.

Additionally, she said, the Public Affairs Unit of EOCO organised sensitisation on cyber and related crimes for 60,465 students in senior high and junior high schools across the country.

Strategic plan

EOCO has a five-year strategic plan with an aim to recover and manage proceeds of crime worth GH¢350 million by June 2028.

This year, EOCO has a target of recovering GH¢200 million proceeds of crime.

The office is mandated to investigate crimes such as financial losses to the state, money laundering, human trafficking, prohibited cyber activity, tax fraud and other such serious offences.

Section three of the EOCO Act, 2010 (Act 804) empowers the office to take steps to recover the proceeds from such crimes.

SOURCE: GRAPHIC ONLINE