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Ghana govt worried about rising cybercrime

By Issa Sikiti da Silva, in Accra, Ghana

Ghana Vice-President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur has urged ISPs to put in place effective measures to combat internet fraud, amid rapidly increasingly cyber crime.

Ghana is currently ranked second in Africa behind Nigeria in terms of cybercrime. Cameroon is third.

In Ghana cybercrime is called Sakawa, and it is claiming victims almost every week.

Ghana cybercriminals are young (21-35 years of age), highly IT skilled, agile and technologically alert, and thought to be operating inside the country but also moving swiftly across the sub-region, leaving a trail of destruction and tears, security sources told Biztechafrica.

Cybercriminals steal more than US$600-million annually globally, and Ghanaians and Nigerians are said to be currently collaborating with powerful global syndicates to advance this white-collar crime on the continent.

At least 40% of the alleged cybercriminals arrested in Ghana are Nigerians and 38% are Ghanaians, with the nationalities of Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire and Togo completing the list, the Journal of Information Technology Impact said, citing police statistics.

The Ghanaian government is not only worried about the involvement of young people in this crime, but also about the negative publicity emanating from the country’s ‘comfortable’ position in global cybercrime.

Ghana Vice-President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur last week urged internet service providers (ISPs) to put in place effective measures to combat internet fraud, which he said was tarnishing the country’s image in the eyes of the international community.

Amissah-Arthur launched a desperate plea to the youth, asking them not to engage in cybercrime, but to take full advantage of the ICT opportunities in order to enhance themselves and change their lives.

The government continues to tell the general public, especially internet café operators, to watch out for cybercriminals and report them as fast as possible.

But most internet cafés owners told Biztechafrica that they might lose income if they were to interfere in their customers’ activities, as the latter will simply go somewhere else.

Ghana communications ministry said that it was working with the Commonwealth to come up with a plan to catch those involved in the practice, both here in Ghana and abroad.

Accounting firm Deloitte and Touche, however, said that Ghana’s challenges of fighting cybercrime includes the lack of password policy by most service providers and other internet based related companies, as well as other ‘strange’ legislations.

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