Ghana government to allocate funds to fight cybercrime – Minister

Government would make allocation in the next budget to support  the creation of cyber security infrastructure and technologies needed  to fight cybercrime, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekufful, the Minister of Communications, has said. 

The move, she said, formed part of government’s commitment towards deploying robust measures to combat cybercrime in the country.                   

Mrs Owusu-Ekufful announced this at the opening of a three-day international workshop on “criminal justice statistics on cybercrime and electronic evidence”,  being held in Accra, under the auspices of the Global Action on Cybercrime Extended (GLACY+).   

The GLACY+ project seeks to support countries in strengthening their criminal justice capacities on cybercrime.

The Minister said though global proliferation of technology was good for the development of countries, it had increased the rate of cybercrime, and, therefore, there was the need for concerted efforts of all users of cyberspace in addressing the menace.

The workshop being attended by experts of criminal justice and other security personnel, seeks to provide a platform that would put systems in place to report and record, as well as analyse the current issues in the collection of reliable statistics regarding cybercrime and electronic evidence.      

Statistics on cybercrime and electronic evidence are essential to quantify the level of threats posed by the different forms of cybercrimes and cyber-enabled crimes to support more efficient investigations and prosecutions and to better inform strategic decisions of policy makers and regulators.  

Also, analyses of figures and trends allow criminal justice authorities to have a better understanding of their own capacities and performance to deal with cybercrime and electronic evidence.   

While, commending GLACY+ programme for building the capacity of countries to combat cybercrime, Mrs Owusu-Ekufful emphasised government’s commitment towards the facilitation of successful prosecution of cross boarder ICT crimes.

“This government will build comprehensive cyber security governance arrangement involving all key public and private sector stakeholders equipped with the relevant infrastructure.   

“We will establish a National Cyber Security Council, and a Cyber Security Centre to oversee Cyber Security Incidence Reporting with the Forensic Laboratory in place to support investigations and prosecutions.”           

The Minister said Ghana had already put in place, the legal framework to empower law enforcement agencies to prosecute cyber criminals and to implement the right cyber defenses by other relevant institutions.

She said the Communication Ministry would be working with the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General in the coming days to engage Parliament for the ratification of the Budapest Convention, the only legal international treaty on cybercrime and electronic evidence.    

Mr Joe Anokye, the Director General of the National Communications Authority (NCA), said at the end of January this year, the total subscriptions of mobile data in Ghana was 20,064110 with a penetration rate of 70.90 per cent.

Mr Anokye, who is also the National Coordinator of GLACY+ in Ghana, explained that as more and more people got access to data, cases of cybercrime was expected to escalate. 

He said in many of the countries there were little or no existing reporting systems on cybercrimes as in Ghana, various law enforcement agencies and the judiciary have different ways of recording and reporting cybercrime and its electronic evidence.  

“Quite apart from that in Ghana, and for that matter other countries, does not have standardized definitions such that terminology like cyber-enabled and cyber-dependents may mean different things to different institutions or countries,” he noted.   

He said the poor and inadequate reporting mechanisms of cybercrime greatly hindered cyber security efforts.

Mr Anokye, therefore, expressed the hope that Ghana and other participating countries would undertake various exercises and activities that would equip them to develop the appropriate systems to record and report cybercrime and cyber-enabled cases.          

Mr Mateo Lucchetti, the Project Manager of the Council of Europe, said  GLACY+ is a joint project of the European Union and the Council of Europe that provide support to countries worldwide and the implementation of the Convention on cybercrime usually referred to as the Budapest Convention. 

He said the assessment of GLACY+ countries conducted during the inception face of the project pointed out common aspects of potential criticality in procedures that have been put in place to collect statistics on cybercrime and electronic evidence.

“By sharing experiences in the area of cybercrime reporting and criminal justice statistics, we want to ultimately support authorities in the participating countries in defining the methodology to increase the number of domestic and international prosecutions and case adjudicated on cybercrime and electronic evidence.

Source: GNA 

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