The Akatsi North District Security Council has intercepted 91 bags of cocoa beans being smuggled from Ghana to the Republic of Togo through an unapproved route between Yegbekope near Ave-Atanve and Heve, a community in Togo, on the 4th of June, 2015, during the night.
The bags of cocoa beans were loaded under the seats of a 38 seater benz bus with registration number ER 9259C. The District Chief Executive, together with the police had to chase the smugglers through the unproved route but the owner of the goods and the driver run out of luck as the vehicle carrying the items got stuck in the mud, between Ave-Atanve in Ghana and Heve in Togo.
Briefing the media at Ave-Dakpa, the District capital, the Akatsi North District Chief Executive (DCE), Mr. James Gunu, who led the team of security personnel who intercepted the bags of cocoa beans explained that at about 9:30pm on Thursday, the 4th of June, 2015, he had a tip off that a vehicle fully loaded with bags of cocoa beans was heading towards Ave-Atanve to Heve in Togo.
Mr. Gunu continued that the team of security personnel, having travelled quite a distance from Ave-Atanve, saw the vehicle with the cocoa beans stuck in the mud between Ave-Atanve and Heve, and upon realizing that the security men were approaching, the owner of the goods, Emmanuel Sorgah, 40, took to his heels into the nearby bush, together with the driver’s mate.
He said the driver of the vehicle, Peter Aformana was, however, arrested. But shortly after the arrest of the driver, the owner of the goods surrendered to the security and pleaded with the DCE to allow him (Sorgah) to negotiate with them for payment to enable him to carry the goods to his destination in Togo.
Mr. Gunu said he accepted Sorgah’s plea but insisted that the negotiation for any form of payment could only be done at the District police headquarters at Ave-Dakpa, which the owner of the goods had agreed.
According to the Akatsi North DCE, he then arranged for a tractor to pull the vehicle and the bags of cocoa were off loaded into a bus provided for the purpose around midnight and escorted the goods while the owner and the driver were driven to the police station in DCE’s official vehicle and detained but the driver’s mate escaped arrest.
Mr. Gunu stressed that the two men would be in custody to enable the police to carry out further investigation into the nefarious activities of smuggling of cocoa across unapproved routes in the District to the Republic of Togo. He cautioned that the District Security Council would be more proactive in dealing with smugglers who he described as destructive elements in Society.
The DCE emphasized that the District would not be allowed to serve as safe haven for smugglers to Togo and that other smugglers with the intention of using these routes for their illegal activities should abandon such plans, because they would be caught and dealt with according to law to serve as deterrent to others. Mr. Gunu thanked the police and other security agencies for the professional manner in which they conducted themselves, which led to the arrest of the smugglers.
Meanwhile, the Volta Regional Minister, Madam Helen Adwoa Ntoso has commended Mr. Gunu and the security personnel in the District for the quick action taken to salvage the 91 bags of cocoa beans, thereby saving the nation from being deprived of thousands of Ghana cedis.
Madam Ntoso called on the management of the Ghana Cocoa Board to as a matter of urgency convey the bags of cocoa beans intercepted to Accra for safe keeping, and charged other DCES, particularly those along border communities, to be more vigilant in order to deal with smuggling activities.
Source: The Chronicle
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