Mr Godfred Dame, the Attorney-General (AG) and Minister of Justice, says the need to strengthen criminal justice must sit right at the top of the nation’s developmental agenda.
He said criminals ought to be deprived of their assets to reduce the impact of their actions on the continent.
“The punishment of corruption requires the establishment of a fair, honest and efficient justice system…Crime must not be rewarding,” he added.
Mr Dame said this at the 39th International Symposium on Economic Crime at University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.
The theme for the forum is: “Selling status – insider crime and abuse.”
He said economic crimes threatened the prosperity of nations and weakened public confidence in the government of every nation.
“They can, not only undermine the values we hold dear as a society but also prop up the kind of authoritarian regimes that wreak havoc in the world. We are acutely aware of the knock-on effect of corruption on human rights internationally and on our efforts to combat environmental damage.”
The AG said issues such as reinforcing corporate integrity, breaches of trust, asset recovery, international cooperation, irregular immigration, corporate criminal responsibility, non-conviction-based forfeiture, and the role of banks in the control and interdiction of corruption reflected the multi-dimensions of economic crime.
He said the office of the Attorney-General was prosecuting high-profile cases involving the offences of wilfully causing financial loss to the State, stealing, corruption, fraud, procurement breaches, and money laundering.
Mr Dame said the cases had as their sole object the principle of holding public officers to account and involve sums of over $850 million.
He said the complexity of modern-day economic crimes had necessitated the introduction of more non-custodial sentences and, in appropriate cases, non-conviction-based punishments.
The Minister said the multiple manifestations of economic crime showed that there was no single structure under, which wrongdoers operated.
He said wrongdoers exploited differences between countries to further their objectives, enriching their organisations, expanding their power and avoiding detection or apprehension.
Mr Dame said the wrongdoers gained influence in government, politics and commerce through corrupt and illegitimate means.
Therefore, he said the need for States to cooperate in combating the threat of economic crimes was more than imperative.