Cyber crime in Ghana: How to tackle the menace

The following was what I extracted from a presentation as a part of Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Accra Remote Hub Participation.

Scale of justice
Scale of justice

Cyber crime in Ghana: How to tackle the menace as presented by Charles Nelson of “Youth Against Cyber Crime”.

Cybercrime can be described as crime perpetrated  by the assistance, use of and enabling of technology and tools of technology.


  • Fraud – huge and wide subject. 95% of cybercrime in Ghana is fraud related. Other forms are very minute.
  • Extortion – cashing on hacks
  • Data theft – has resemblance to hacking but usually perpetrated by an insider
  • Piracy – music piracy is becoming prevalent in Ghana and affecting the music industry adversely
  • Email scams – unsolicited emails soliciting for funds
  • Hacking – gaining unauthorized accessed to systems

Background – Cybercrime in Ghana

  • When did it start?
    In the early 1970s to 1980s the penpals hobby took a new twist. Some started patromizing fetish priests to influence their pen pals for more gifts, money, photos etc.
  • This phenomenon was scaled by 419 in 1990s with coming in of the Liberian refugees.
  • From 2000 upwards Ghanaian  419 recruits have started their own small scale operations.
  • Entry of the Internet boosted the scams tremendously

When did it cross the line?

  • In 2004 the police started raiding cafes and inward remittance collection points ostensibly to arrest fraud boys, following on the heels of the EFCC arrest ins in Nigeria.
  • The thinking then by their Ghanaian counterparts was to seek protection with witchdoctors and other mediums to avoid detection and arrest.


What is Sakawa?

CyberCrime + Metaphysical powers. Etymology: “Mallam Isa Kawa” meaning Mallam Isa’s ring. It is believed the first form of this crime done with a scammer patronizing one Mallam Isa in Swedru. The scammers go into occultism for protection and fortification.

Who and who are involved?

  • Unemployed, employed (example: bank staff collaborators), students, politicians (provide protection), pastors, business professionals with ages ranging between 18 and 30 years.

What is the motivation for the involvement?

  • Lack of job opportunities or decent employment
  • Quick money syndrome
  • “Reparation”
  • Experiment/Unguided adventure
  • Peer pressure

Mitigating measures

  • At international level – several measures are being taken but the battle is nowhere near won
  • At Government level – electronic transactions act (ETA) passed by Parliament of Ghana to enable prosecution of cyber crime related offences
  • Family level
  • Civil Society level
  • Individual level

Feel free to join the debate on how to tackle the menace of cyber crime in Ghana.

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Oluniyi D. Ajao
Oluniyi D. Ajao is an Internet Entrepreneur and Tech Enthusiast based in South Africa. Follow him on twitter @niyyie for more tech updates.


  1. The best way to tackle Cyber Crime is to teach legitimate internet business opportunities. To encourage young, aspiring Africans to be original and to be their best.
    That is why I started Internet Business School (IBS). The best way to detect a counterfeit is to present the original. Darkness can not stand the Light!

  2. Be advised that the Ghana Police Service website is not a domain ending in Furthermore, Ghana Police use email addresses ending in, not Any post or site recommending info.ghanapolice at consultant dot com is false and is a criminal attempting to scam you. For additional information, contact the U.S. Embassy or real Ghana Police.

    Ghana Police Service
    National Headquarters : (233) 0302 778 505
    [email protected]

    Embassy of the United States
    No. 24, Fourth Circular Rd., Cantonments, Accra
    P.O. Box GP 2288
    Accra, Ghana
    Telephone: (233) 030-2741-150


  3. I tracked info.ghanapolice at consultant and I have not it seems I talked with an official who dealt with a scam case I reported and the perpetrators was arrested and I was not asked for money

    • I asked the Ghana police in email about the Ghana Crime Unit and it was reported as a genuine department under the Ghana Police department that tackle cyber crimes..

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