The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Effutu, Alex Afenyo-Markin, has accused the Economic and Organised Crime Office [EOCO] led by K.K Amoah of targeting Internet fraudsters known in local terms as ‘Sakawa boys’ rather than the corrupt banking officials, whose actions led to the collapse of the local banks with nearly 4,000 jobs at stake.
EOCO in recent times, has been seen as engaged in media trials of high-profile individuals through publicity stunt, as opposed to carrying out thorough criminal investigations towards the prosecution of the suspected criminals.
At the last count, personalities such as, Dr. Stephen Opuni, former boss of Ghana Cocoa Board, Nana Appiah Mensah of MenzGold, Sedina Tamakloe, former Chief Executive Officer of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), ex-Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Free Zones Board, Kwadwo Twum Boafo among others have all had one issue or the other with the EOCO.
Dr. Opuni, had to rush to the Supreme Court to have access to his bank account because EOCO was playing politics with it by freezing it. The Supreme Court, described the institution as becoming a monster unto the citizens.
Mr Afenyo-Markin, said he has been in court representing people whose accounts have been wrongly frozen by EOCO and the Financial Intelligence Center [FIC], saying there are more pressing issues within the financial sector that require the attention of EOCO, rather than witch-hunting of supposed internet fraudsters.
Alex Afenyo-Markin, has very often been seen in courtrooms and police stations, defending supposed internet fraudsters whose huge sums of money, have been confiscated by the state. Many have said he has made a fortune from these monies and has sometimes come into conflict with some of his clients.
The Herald is aware of some other lawyers and policemen, who have been at the service of the supposed internet fraudsters.
Speaking on Citi TV, he questioned EOCO’s seeming protection of individuals whose actions and inaction cost the state huge sums of money.
“I have been at the courts on numerous occasions, challenging EOCO and FIC, why they will be freezing the accounts of people with Gh¢5,000 and Gh¢2,000, who are on the computer doing ‘pen pal’ forgetting that there are real risk takers, that there are real issues in the financial sector that requires their attention. They failed.”
“If you go to the FIC today, and ask for their freezing data, I can assure you, because I have always been in court that 99% accounts frozen are against people I will call Sakawa boys. EOCO is doing the same thing with Sakawa boys, is it that they were brought into being to chase Sakawa boys? The real offenders are being allowed, and today we are going through this” the MP said angrily.
The MP for Effutu, further called on the leadership of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to be consistent in their supervisory efforts to ensure that more banks do not collapse.
Mr Afenyo-Markin, also called on the leadership of the newly formed Consolidated Bank to pay the compensation and salary arrears of affected workers of the seven defunct banks.