Snakes threaten work of customs officers in Ashanti Region

Customs officers in the Ashanti Region are battling snakes and other dangerous reptiles due to the poor state of their checkpoints.

Officers of the Kumasi Unit of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority which exceeded its collection target last year are also battling an absence of electricity.

The Kubease checkpoint on the Accra-Kumasi Highway is one of the five checkpoints under the Kumasi Unit unconnected to the national grid.

Officials resort to generators to illuminate their structures to work at night.

For over a month now, the generator has broken down, and personnel have had to use torchlight to conduct vehicular and cargo inspections.

Solar panels installed at the checkpoint have been non-functional for nearly five years.

Customs officers have had to struggle in darkness at the expense of their lives to check smugglers.

Sometimes, drivers suspected to be carrying smuggled goods in their trucks or vehicles defy orders to stop.

They knock off these weak barriers and speed off, leaving the security personnel helpless.

Regional Commander, ACP Kwesi Ahiakpor describes the situation as “extremely critical”.

 “You see the reptiles officers kill at night with torchlight, honestly it is disturbing. Meanwhile, that is where we stop all these vehicles and collect all the taxes for the state but nobody seems to be bordered.

“Smugglers do not operate during the day so if they are coming and realises that the checkpoints have no lights and you are using torchlight, they will not stop,” he said.

ACP Ahiakpor adds, “I have never been impressed with it and I will not pretend.”

According to him, these checkpoints were not properly built and has suggested that they should be rebuilt with proper residential accommodation and baggage hall.

Meanwhile, NESSTRA Ghana Ltd, a subsidiary of ASHFOAM has donated 13,000 Ghana Cedis Worth of a 6.5 KVA generator to the Kumasi Unit to address the challenge.

checkpoint donate

Marketing Communications Manager of NESSTRA Ghana Ltd, Nana Yaw Ampem Darko-Antwi, pledged to build a proper barriers.

They will be constructing the checkpoints at Kubease, Mpesetia, Mankraso and Ahenkro all valued at 40,000 Ghana cedis.

ACP Ahiakpor, however, says the support by corporate institutions is welcomed but will not compromise his work.