"Indeed, the need for collaboration between EOCO and the media cannot be overemphasized" adding that "EOCO and the media mutually benefit from the information they publish through their activities."
The Executive Director of Africa Center for International Law and Accountability (ACILA), Mr. William Nyarko has said collaboration is key in the fight against organized crime and corruption.
The was contained in an assessment of EOCO-Media relations presented at a stakeholder engagement on the activities of the Economic and Organized Crime Office held on July 10, 2019 in Accra.
According to the veteran investigative journalist, “Indeed, the need for collaboration between EOCO and the media cannot be overemphasized” adding that “EOCO and the media mutually benefit from the information they publish through their activities.”
Citing some key instances of such information he said “For example, the EOCO utilizes the open source information provided by the media to, sometimes, initiate investigations, an example of this being the EOCO investigations into the GYEEDA case, which was first broken by multiple award winning investigative journalist, Manasseh Awuni Azure of the Multimedia Group Limited, operators of JOY FM”
Similarly, the media also utilize information provided by EOCO by publishing the investigative outcomes of EOCO and reporting on issues related to EOCO’s work. – he added
The international law expert revealed that “In addition, there is a convergence of roles in respect of the functional accountability mandate assigned to EOCO and the media under law.”
Making specific reference to the law, Mr. Nyarko said:
Under the Directive Principles of State Policy in Chapter 6, Article 41 (f) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, every citizen has a duty: “To protect and preserve public property and expose and combat misuse and waste of public funds and property.” The media, whose members are journalists and are bound by their duties as citizens, have also been assigned additional responsibilities under Chapter 12, Article 162 (5) to “…uphold the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people of Ghana.”
He further revealed that “Under Act 804, the law which established EOCO, EOCO, whose officers are also citizens of Ghana and have a duty as citizens, are to, among other things, investigate and on the authority of the Attorney General prosecute serious offences that involve financial or economic loss to the state and recover the proceeds of such crimes. For both the media and the EOCO to perform these accountability functions effectively, the investigative functions of investigative journalists and the investigative skills of EOCO officers are key.”
He pointed out that “To be sure, EOCO faces one of the key challenges that every state institution that conducts investigation faces- as an investigative body what information should it disclose and when in order not to jeopardize ongoing investigations?”
However, this challenge is not unique to EOCO alone. Other investigative bodies such as the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service (CID) and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) face this challenge as well. EOCO can work around it by balancing the public right to know and the preservation of the integrity of ongoing investigations. – he added
He is of the view that “EOCO makes its Public Affairs Unit more visible along with their contact information such as direct phone numbers and email addresses to the media”
By: Efo Korsi Senyo / awakenewsonline.com