Custom officials displaying some of the cocoa beans
But for the timely collaborative efforts of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) in the Volta Region, some miscreants would have smuggled 329 bags of cocoa to neighboring Togo a few days ago.
The first incident occurred on Tuesday, 10 June, 2014, at Leklebi-Duga in the Afadjato South District of the Volta Region where the vigilance of the Leklebi-Dafor officials of the Customs division led to the interception of 189 bags of cocoa beans.
In the latest smuggling attempt, which happened Thursday, 12 June, 2014, a combined team of the BNI and Customs intercepted 140 bags of cocoa beans at Hordzo, an eastern border community of Ghana in the Ho Municipality. It shares borders with the Republic of Togo and is about 30 km from Nyive, a popular Customs Border Checkpoint in the municipality.
The Ho Sector Commander of Customs, Confidence Nyadzi, told DAILY GUIDE that as majority of Ghanaians were glued to their television and radio sets watching and listening to the official opening of the FIFA 2014 World Cup and the controversial match between Brazil and Croatia, some miscreants were also trying to perpetrate crime.
Unfortunately for them, the BNI was hinted about their activities and informed the Customs whose intelligence division had also gathered similar information. The Intel alleged that some persons were transporting sacks suspected to contain cocoa beans from the Eastern Region thorough the Volta Region to Togo.
In order to outwit the security agencies, the suspects had hidden the bags of cocoa beans amidst bags of poultry feed. The joint forces of the two agencies laid ambush at Hordzo and intercepted a truck full of bags of poultry feed with bags of cocoa beans hidden in them.
In the process of the arrest, the driver who was driving the truck with registration number GB 5861 – 12 allegedly escaped with his accomplices, leaving the truck behind. The culprits who were trying to smuggle the 189 bags of cocoa beans earlier intercepted at Leklebi, were also said to have escaped.
The Senior Revenue Officer in-charge of Intelligence, Nana Kwadwo Opoku Bonsu, confirmed that the Leklebi consignment had been valued at GH¢21,000.00 while the Hordzo one was yet to be valued at the Cocoa Board office at Kpedze in the Ho West District.
Mr. Confidence Nyadzi commended the BNI for collaborating with the Customs division to nip the crime in the bud. He urged other security agencies and the general public to emulate BNI’s sense of responsibility and ensure that prompt information on suspected smugglers and other criminals are unearthed and dealt with.
From Fred Duodu, Ho ( [email protected] )
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