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General News of Monday, 23 April 2001

Source: GNA

President Kufuor holds talk with FBI Director

Mr Louis J. Freeh, Director of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Sunday made a stop-over in Accra to hold talks with President John Agyekum Kufuor and some government officials on measures to combat the crime wave in the country.

The discussion centred on co-operation in areas of mutual concern such as counter-terrorism and efforts to combat trans-national crime because the globalisation of crime requires international co-operation.

Mr Freeh, the first FBI Director to visit Ghana, is on his way to attend the Mid/East Africa Chapter of the FBI National Academy Associates Retraining Session on Policing in the 21st Century in Cape Town, South Africa. He will also visit Kenya and Tanzania.

Briefing newsmen, Mr Freeh said within the next 10 days a team of experts would visit the country to train investigators on the detection of crime.

He said with the strong and trusted relationship between the two countries, " we need to work together to provide the support necessary with the improved leadership in the country".

Mr Freeh said the FBI assists other governments that seek their assistance, especially in areas of money laundering and cited the case of a seven billion dollars fraud at the Bank of New York that involved Russia.

"We have access to records and individuals and prosecute people, who violate the laws of the United States, this is done on regular basis and we are prepared to do it on request."

Alhaji Malik Yakubu Alhassan, Minister of the Interior said the discussion was fruitful and this has culminated in signs of co-operation between the two countries to combat crime.

He explained that the visit of Mr Freeh is a follow-up to previous visits to the country, about two months ago, by some personnel from FBI on the assistance needed to put an end to the serial killings and other crimes.

The Interior Minister said the tremendous desire, enthusiasm, interest and co-operation shown from both sides at the meeting bear testimony of the FBI's desire to help Ghana deal with crime since it does not help democracy to grow.

Nana Akufo-Addo, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, said some of the crimes committed in the country, have international dimensions such as the "Quality Grain Scandal" and require the assistance of other investigative bodies to assist in improving the capabilities of the Police and the Judicial Service to perform better.

"We on our part are determined to make the co-operation work." The Justice Minister said," today the entire world is interested in what ever happens in Ghana, our smooth transition has given impetus to democracy and most countries are prepared to see what they can do to assist. We should make use of the maximum support for national development."