Security agencies urged to track sources of drug trade financing

Vice President Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur on Tuesday appealed to the security networks within the West African sub-region to track the sources of funding to the drug trade.

He said there was the need for the stronger enforcement of anti-drug laws and expressed support for retributive justice to deal with drug trafficking.

The Vice President said this when members the West Africa Commission on the Impact of Drug Trafficking on Governance, led by Justice Bankole Thompson of Sierra Leone, paid a courtesy call on him at the Flagstaff House in Accra.

The Commission came to brief him on the preliminary report on the Ghana country visit by the Commission since its inauguration last January.

Vice President Amissah-Arthur decried the emergence of barons in the drug trade which is leading to the destruction of the youth in the sub-region and called for stronger intelligence into their operations to protect the youth.

Investment, he said, should be focused on the development of employable skills for the youth.

The Commission was established by the Kofi Annan Foundation, in consultation with international and regional partners, national governments and civil society organizations, in response to the dramatic surge in drug trafficking through West Africa over the past decade.

The Commission is chaired by Olusegun Obasanjo, the former President of Nigeria and the members are group of distinguished West Africans, including President Pedro Verona Pires of Cape Verde.

Part of the assignment of the Commission is to publish country reports and so far it has visited Senegal and since last week it has been holding the Ghana country meeting which culminated in the visit to the Vice President.

Vice President Amissah-Arthur expressed the readiness of the Ghana Government to assist the Commission adding that victims needed to be supported.

Briefing the Vice President, Justice Bankole said the Commission while in Ghana, interacted with the Attorney General’s Office, the Narcotics Control Board, faith based organizations and civil society groups.

He said the Commission suggested among other things a reinforcement of the retributive justice system as well as the strengthening of public health to care for victims of drug use.

A system, he said, should also be devised to re-integrate victims and people who punitive measures have been applied to and countries in the sub-region should also harmonize their drug laws.

Former President Obasanjo announced that the next countries to be visited are La Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau and Nigeria adding that the Commission was also doing comparative studies with similar commissions in Latin America and UN organizations.

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