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Alfred Nortey —  Director of Finance and Administration,  Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation
Alfred Nortey — Director of Finance and Administration, Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation

Invest in systems to deal with cybercrime - Minister to financial institutions

The Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has urged financial institutions and organisations to invest in the requisite systems that could identify, analyse and report on electronically stored data.

That, she explained, would ensure the easy detection and investigation of cybercrime.

Known as digital forensics, the minister said such investment would make it easy to trace the source of fraudulent activities, determine the extent of the compromise and maintain a secure chain of custody for digital evidence to ensure its admissibility in legal proceedings.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said these in a speech read on her behalf by a Director at the ministry, Alfred Nortey, at the graduation ceremony of the Chartered Institute of Tax Law and Forensic Accountants in Accra last weekend.

The occasion, which was on the theme: “Harnessing the Convergence Role Between Forensic Accounting, Financial Crime and Cyber Security,” saw 26 students graduate as Chartered Tax Law and Forensic Accountants.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful also urged financial organisations to be effectively proactive and reactive by investing in strong cybersecurity measures to help prevent and mitigate security breaches.

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Common occurrence

She noted that financially motivated crimes had become a common occurrence due to the country’s increased adoption of digital systems and services for socio-economic activities.

The minister emphasised that her ministry, through the Cyber Security Authority, in partnership with other relevant agencies, was committed to spearheading efforts in the area of cyber security with an ongoing licensing and accreditation process consistent with Section 59 of the Cybersecurity Act, 2020 (Act 1038).

That, Mrs Owusu-Ekuful stated, was to ensure that cybersecurity professionals gained the requisite skill set and competence to meet a set of standards to offer adequate protection to computer systems and networks in the country.

“However, to be effectively proactive and reactive, financial organisations must invest in strong cybersecurity measures to prevent and mitigate security breaches,” she said.

Collaboration

To combat the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats and financial crimes, Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said collaboration and information-sharing between sector regulators, law enforcement agencies, financial institutions and other stakeholders was crucial.

The minister said the Cyber Security Authority, together with the members of the Joint Cybersecurity Committee, was therefore, positioned to lead the sharing of cybersecurity threat intelligence, best practices and lessons learnt by acting as the hub within Ghana's Computer Emergency Response Team ecosystem.

That, the minister said, would help detect, prevent and respond effectively to financial crime activities and ensure the security of individuals’ and organisations' assets and financial information.

The Executive Director of the Chartered Institute of Tax Law and Forensic Accountants, Eric Oduro, noted that one of the key issues confronting the economy was cybercrime.

He said the Bank of Ghana Report in 2021 revealed that GH¢114 million was lost to cyber fraud and only GH52 million was recovered.

He, therefore, said professional bodies needed to gain understanding in cybersecurity to enable them to support government in addressing the challenge.

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