Timely information sharing critical to combat illicit drug trafficking—Ambrose Dery

Accra, 03 Aug, GNA – Mr Ambrose Dery, Minister for the Interior, says timely information and intelligence sharing are critical to successful seizures of contrabands and arrest of perpetuators of illicit drug trafficking and organised crime.

The fight against such unlawful acts can further be strengthened through partnerships and collaborations. The ultimate goal of arrest is to secure successful prosecution leading to conviction. We can only achieve that when we collaborate and work together,” he added.

Mr Dery made the comments on Wednesday during the official launch of Technical and Logistical Assistance for Ghanaian Authorities to Counter Drug Trafficking and Organized .

The event was organised by United Nations Office on Drugs and (UNODC) in partnership with Narcotics Control Commission (NACOC).

Participants include criminal justice actors from NACOC, Judicial Service of Ghana, Office of the Attorney General, Ghana Police Criminal Investigations Department, other security and intelligence agencies, Office of the Attorney General, amongst others.

He said the launch of the project was testament to the international community’s commitment to collaborate, strengthen and help to dismantle international drug syndicates and organized crime organizations in Ghana and Africa.

Mr Dery said illicit drug trafficking and related organised criminal activities enabled transnational criminal organisations to infiltrate, pollute and corrupt the social, political, and economic structures of states.

He said in most cases, money gotten from illicit drug trade was used to finance other illegal activities across the world, including extremism.

The Minister said Government therefore passed a law in 2020 giving NACOC greater powers to fight illicit drug trade in Ghana.

He said it was necessary to protect the youth from being involved in the unlawful act, adding that, “if we lose them to the use of drugs, it will cause a problem.”

Dr Amado Philip De Andres, Regional Director, West and Central Africa, UNODC, said West Africa was a region vulnerable to, and affected by, acute threats in terms of transnational organised crime, including the use of the region as a transit area for cocaine, heroin, cannabis.

He added that, “we are working together to provide effective and balanced drug control solutions to protect health and livelihood, as highlighted in the Investment Area 1 of the UNODC Strategic Vision for Africa 2030.”

“As part of this initiative, we are also improving data collection and analysis in West and Central Africa and launched the World Drug Report 2022 with representatives of 16 countries, including Ghana, and Diplomatic missions.”

Mr Amado said the partnership between UNODC and NACOC with guidance from the US Department of States’ Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (US INL), was to support the National Integrated Programme (NIP) to fight transnational organised crime and to strengthen the criminal justice system in Ghana.

He said the launch would pave way for the establishment of a minimum of five border posts among others for NACOC to expand its coverage in the fight against drugs.

“The first batch of 30 senior officers from Oti region, Ashanti region and Greater Accra, have been selected for an intensive Train of Trainers course at the end of August 2022 to ensure sustainability of the project,” he added.

Mr Kenneth Adu- Amanfoh, Acting Director-General, NACOC said despite major logistical and technical challenges, Ghana’s security agencies had undertaken joint efforts over the years to combat threats posed by nefarious activities such as narcotics cultivation, trafficking, and usage, which had a rippling effect on Ghana’s crime situation.

He said the Commission was committed to collaborating with their development partners to develop professional enhancement training programmes to combat illicit drug trade.

“The Commission also hopes to use this platform to advocate for stakeholders support in the fight against drug trafficking and organised crime, as well as to start a discussion about the dangers of narcotic drugs and how to address them,” he added.

Mr Adu- Amanfoh said NACOC would continue to open its doors and collaborate with its partners to harness and strengthen the capacities of staff to positively complement its missions and visions.

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