Source: The Finder - Security experts and anti-corruption crusaders have called on the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) and the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to launch full-scale investigations into assets of all persons allegedly involved in the corruption scandal that has hit the judiciary.
According to them, all ill-gotten wealth of the suspects, both cash in bank accounts and properties found to be acquired from proceeds of the alleged extortion and bribery scandal, should be confiscated to the state.
Since an exposé by top investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas that 180 court officials, including 34 judges, have taken bribes and extorted money, attention has not been focused on how to recover the ill-gotten wealth.
Allegations are rife that suspects named in the alleged bribery and extortion scandal have acquired several properties and hold fat bank accounts. One of the judges alleged to be involved in the scandal is said to have over 10 cars.
Speaking to The Finder in separate interviews on condition of anonymity, security experts and anti-corruption campaigners said the suspects should not be allowed to benefit from the proceeds of their illegal act.
They said it was vital for the FIC and EOCO to trace how the suspects acquired all their assets and cash in their accounts, and recover them if acquired illegally.
According to them, in case some of the suspects have transferred all or part of their alleged ill-gotten wealth outside Ghana, FIC should collaborate with several international anti-corruption and anti-money laundering institutions to trace the assets.
For example, the security experts and anti-corruption campaigners said FIC should quickly contact Camden Assets Recovery Interagency Network (CARIN) - an informal network of expert practitioners in the field of asset tracing, freezing and confiscation - as part of its investigations.
Also, FIC should partner the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR), which works to end safe havens for corrupt funds, to trace cash that have been transferred outside Ghana.
StAR is a partnership between the World Bank and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
StAR provides developing country governments with advice, knowledge and technical assistance on how to effectively recover stolen assets.
In order to provide effective responses through specialised investigations and regional co-operation, UNODC's Global Programme against Money Laundering, Proceeds of Crime and the Financing of Terrorism (GPML) officially established the Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network for West Africa (ARIN-WA) in November 2014, of which Ghana is part.
Currently, Ghana hosts the Presidency and the Secretariat in Ivory Coast.
Like many regions around the world, West Africa is prone to various forms of illicit trafficking, embezzlement of public funds and corruption.
The growing sophistication of criminal networks, combined with insufficient resources and expertise of investigators, is one of the many obstacles that make it difficult to quell these criminal activities.
Ghana’s reputation has been tainted by fraud as several countries have labelled Ghana as a country where ‘sakawa’ booms.
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