2 Grabbed For Smuggling Cocoa

Two persons are in the grips of police after their attempt to smuggle cocoa out of the country was foiled by the Akatsi North District Police Command.

Not even a GH¢1,500 bribe offered the police, with the promise of a top-up at a later date, could secure safe passage for the smuggled cocoa beans. The police refused the bribe and allowed the law to take its course.

The suspects, who have been identified as Emmanuel Sorga, 40, and Peter Aformana, 41, were arrested at Ave-Atanve, a border community in the Akatsi North District of the Volta Region, last Thursday, June 4.

They were arrested at about 10pm with 91 bags of cocoa beans stuffed in a Benz bus destined for the Republic of Togo, Ghana’s eastern neighbour. The seats in the bus had been removed to make room for the cocoa.

The 38-seater Benz bus with registration number ER 9259 C was occupied by Peter (the driver), Emmanuel, the owner of the consignment and a third person who is currently at large.

Confirming the incident to DAILY GUIDE, the District Chief Executive (DCE) of Akatsi North, James Gunu, noted that the suspects claimed they were transporting the consignment, made up of 30 maxi bags and 61 medium bags, from Koforidua in the Eastern Region.

He said a tip-off from an informant in Ave-Atanve led to the arrest of the suspects, adding that the driver’s mate however managed to escape and is currently at large.

He said the Benz bus got stuck in mud at one of the villages near Ave-Atanve.

The suspects then engaged some youth in the community to offload the bags and help remove the vehicle from the mud.

An informant, who suspected the cocoa was being smuggled, immediately hinted the police. The DCE said he was informed and he joined the police to intercept the bus.

The two suspects, who are assisting the police in investigations, will be arraigned before court on Monday, June 8, 2015.

Mr Gunu stated that local intelligence networks had been activated along border communities in the district to check smuggling activities along unapproved routes there.

Smuggling of goods through border communities in Ghana is not a new phenomenon. Several measures have been taken but the menace is yet to subside.

Officials of the Ghana Immigration Service and Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority have made several complaints about inadequate personnel, lack of vehicles and accommodation and poor access roads, but government is yet to address these problems.

From Fred Duodu, Ho ( [email protected] )

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