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Calls for Ghana to serve as cybercrime fighting hub

Calls for Ghana to serve as cybercrime fighting hub

At an international workshop on criminal justice statistics on cybercrime and electronic evidence, where the potential increase in cybercrime was discussed, a representative of the Council of Europe has called on Ghana to act as a regional hub for cybercrime training within Anglophone West Africa.

According to Matteo Lucchetti, whose CoE organised the event with National Communications Authority, Ghana can promote the adoption of international standards in the neighbouring countries based on the view that Ghana represents a best practice in the region on matters related to cybercrime and cyber-enabled crimes.

The event forms part of the Global Action on Cybercrime Extended (GLACY+) project meant to establish a group of trainers that can instruct their peers in the introductory skills and knowledge required to handle cases of cybercrime and electronic evidence.

It brought together several local and international law enforcement and justice professionals involved in collecting, collating and interpreting statistics for offences of cybercrime from countries including Mauritius, Philippines, Tonga, Sri Lanka and Morocco.

Cybercrime is not a new phenomenon in West Africa. A recent report by Trend Micro, written in collaboration with INTERPOL, says cyber-crime related complaints from the region increased from 940 incidents in 2013 to 2182 case by 2015 which makes the region a point of focus. While about 30% of such crimes result in arrests, according to the report, others lead nowhere due to several roadblocks encountered in the cause of their investigation.

As one of the few African countries to have signed and ratified the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime treaty, which seeks to harmonise national laws on e-crime, improve investigative techniques and increase cooperation among nations to foster the protection of countries against cybercrime, Ghana's profile fits a regional hub for fighting cybercrime.

A disclosure by the country's communications minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, at the event that Ghana is planning to set up a National Cyber Security Council, a National Cyber Security Centre to oversee Cyber Security Incident Reporting and a forensic laboratory to support investigations and prosecutions could improve the profile.

With a reference to Ghana, GLACY+ National Coordinator, who is also the acting NCA Director General, Joe Anokye, notes that Ghana's total mobile data subscription which has crossed over 20 million at a penetration rate of 70.90% at the end of January 2017 is a recipe for an escalation in cybercrime cases.

He adds that the advent of new technologies and strategies to advance network security sometimes affect how law enforcement and justice agencies secure electronic evidence.

Anokye suggested the development of a shared system which would require that relevant institutions upload cases and share information to ensure data and statistics integrity as well as avoid duplication of efforts.

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