The Attorney General (AG) and Minister for Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, says government is taking all necessary steps to ensure that it puts in place adequate measures to make financial and economic crimes unrewarding in the country.
Addressing participants at the 39th Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime at Cambridge University, United Kingdom, under the theme “Selling status – insider crime and abuse of trust”, today 5 September 2022, Godfred Yeboah Dame, said “economic crimes threaten the prosperity of nations and weakens public confidence in the government of every nation”.
He noted that “they (Economic Crimes) can, not only undermine the values [a nation] hold dear as a society but also prop up the kind of authoritarian regimes that wreak havoc in the world”.
“We are acutely aware of the knock-on effect of corruption on human rights internationally and on our efforts to combat environmental damage. Human rights and nature are the casualties of this system of profiteering, which, in reality, is war by other means.
The punishment of corruption requires the establishment of a fair, honest and efficient justice system. Thus, the need to strengthen criminal justice must sit right at the top of our developmental agenda” Godfred Dame said.
“Criminals ought to be deprived of their assets in order to reduce the impact of their actions and the inspiration they serve to others on the continent. Crime must not be rewarding” he added.
In his address, Dame observed that a “phenomenon that afflicted the financial sector of Ghana between 2018 and 2020 was the emergence of many unlicensed entities operating illegally” in the country with the leaders of the said entities often living “a lavish lifestyle on the proceeds of their illicit activities”.
“Prominent among such entities was an amorphous organisation operating a microfinance institution under the guise of – guess what – gold trading and illegally using the name of a bank.
It called itself Menzbank. Apparently, Menzgold, as it was also called, had been dealing in the purchase and deposit of gold collectibles from the public and issuing contracts with guaranteed returns to clients without a licence from the relevant authorities” the AG said.
“Against caution from the Central Bank, tens of thousands of individuals got hooked on the scheme devised by the company. Following the close down by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the customers could not retrieve their funds.
The company relied on the greed and ignorance of thousands of otherwise hardworking Ghanaians who were prepared to pay their life savings to the suspects in the case, resulting in losses worth millions of dollars” he added.