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May 6, 2013

Ghana unveils National Integrated Programme

Mr Kwesi Ahwoi

Mr Kwesi Ahwoi, Minister of the Interior said at the weekend that Ghana has set up a National Integrated Programme (NIP) as an effective regional response to the threat pose by organised crime.

“NIP is a governmental development framework to deal with inefficiencies in the criminal justice system elaborated through an inclusive and participative approach, which aimed at fighting transnational organised crime.

“It also seeks to strengthen the criminal justice system in Ghana,” Mr Ahwoi stated at the launch of the NIP document, which is a collaboration of the Government of Ghana and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), “he said.

He said the document is a process to open a wide range of stakeholders, including inter alia, bilateral partners and Unite Nations Agencies with a view to avoid duplication, overlaps and involve possible funding partners at an early stage so as to create consensus on the way forward and a synergy of efforts.

Mr Ahwoi said the overall objective of the programme is to contribute to and support the efforts of West African States as well as regional organisations and civil society to respond to evolving human security treats and to promote the rule of law and good governance.

He said within the framework of the implementation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Action Plan, Ghana’s Ministry of the Interior together with the UNODC organised a high level conference on drugs in March 2009 in Accra.

Mr Yaw Akrasi Sarpong, Executive Secretary of the Narcotics Control Board, said NIP is a regional response to the growing threat posed by illicit drug trafficking and organised crime in West Africa.

“ECOWAS with the support of UNODC convened a Ministerial Conference in October 2008 in Praia, Cape Verde, which resulted in the formulation of a Political Declaration on the prevention of drug abuse, illicit trafficking and organised crimes in West Africa,” he stated.

He said in parallel, on June 23 2009, Ghana through the Ministry of the Interior signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UNODC to pave way for the development of NIP against drugs and crime.

Mr Sarpong said the external threat to Ghana is mostly related to the various transnational trafficking flows such as cocaine, human beings and fraudulent medicines.

He said the NIP seeks to address five strategic objectives, consisting Legislative law, Law enforcement, Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing Terrorism, Criminal Justice System and Drug Demand Reduction on HIV and AIDS Prevention Treatment.

Mrs Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice said judges and prosecutors would be train to handle cases involving drugs, human trafficking, sex trade, illicit weapons and ammunition and other crimes.

She said the Ministry is ready to collaborate with stakeholders to fight transnational organised crime and to strengthen the criminal justice system, which would promote a sound economic growth and development.

Mr Mohammed Ahmed Alhassan, Acting Inspector General of Police who chaired the launch described transnational crime as a major concern to Ghana and said it is important to promote the rule of law in the fight of crime.