Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Danquah, Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) has disclosed that the Department will set up a Digital Forensic Laboratory by the end of 2019.
She said even though the department already has a crime laboratory for running DNA, ballistic, handwriting and other tests, the Digital Forensic laboratory would come to support the level of evidence that could be obtained to prosecute suspected criminals even with regard to traditional crimes.
Madam Addo-Danquah who is also a Commissioner of Police disclosed these on Monday at the opening of a two-day training workshop in Accra on Cybercrime and Electronic Evidence organised by the Service in collaboration with the Conference of Western Attorney Generals-Africa Alliance Partnership (CWAGAAP).
It brought together 50 participants from the Economic and Organised Crime Office, Food and Drugs Authority, Police, Attorney General’s Office, the Judicial Service and other actors of the criminal justice system spread across country.
The Commissioner said there was a lot of evidence that could be obtained from electronic devices and with the establishment of the new laboratory; the Department could now extract information from any digital device even when the needed information has been deleted.
She said steps towards the setting up of the laboratory started in 2018 and that plans were far advanced with the training of personnel already in place and that the service was only awaiting equipment.
“We are hopeful that by the end of the year, we should be sitting in our offices, extracting our own evidence and running our own analysis,” she said. Madam Addo-Danquah said the training workshop would enhance the knowledge gap of the department and improve upon the evidence collection processes, adding that, it would make the work of investigators easier in the interest of the public.
“When it comes to criminal prosecution, the onus is on prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt. Whatever you do as a prosecution, you have to do it in such a way that whatever is before you, can be supported with evidence and without evidence you don’t have a case. It is not about the truth; it is about what you can use to support your claim,” she added. She said training was crucial and that investigators can only investigate cybercrime related crimes by first understanding and appreciating what cybercrime was all about and how they could get evidence to prosecute cyber-related crimes. “It is important that investigators know how to extract, preserve, and present evidence before every court,” she added. The Director General cautioned the general public to beware of the threats posed by cyber space as it was not only limited to companies and other institutions but also in their daily lives, adding that, they were exposed to threats even as they spent time on social media, browse the internet and using their mobile money platforms.
“Cyber space is giving us lots of opportunities and helping us to do a lot but there’s a lot of disadvantages, especially if you don’t know how vulnerable you are to cyberspace. So everybody should beware that though I.C.T is helping us, it can also put us in a very bad situation,” she advised.
CWAGAAP, a bi-partisan group comprising chief legal officers of 15 Western States and three Pacific territories dedicated to strengthening the rule of law in combating transnational crimes in Africa by fostering international collaboration and knowledge sharing between law enforcement agencies.