BoG On Warpath To Ban Pickups As Bullion Vans

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has described as unacceptable the use of buildup pick-ups as bullion vans. It said the vehicles did not meet the right specifications for use as bullions, noting that they were not properly fabricated with the required metallic materials such as armored to withstand any attack or bullet. As a measure, the bank would soon come out with guidelines to specifically indicate the type of vehicles and modifications that can be acceptable for use as bullion vans. The Head of Agency Operations, Currency Management Department of BoG, Mr. Jarvis Frank Tsodemeku, told Journalists about this on the sidelines of a four day workshop on ‘Cash handling and security training’ in Accra. He said besides the vehicles not having strong bodies, they have only one padlock at the back, one security man without having any tracking or monitoring device(s), or vehicle behind them to provide security. Mr. Tsodemeku said the vehicles are potential security risks, not only to the occupants but the institutions that render their services vis-à-vis customers who transact businesses with the sad institutions. He noted that carrying money from one place to the other was a risky business which required well fortified buildup vehicles and security personnel to accompany the vans. Mr. Tsodemeku said cash remains a critical resource that lubricates the wheel of human activity across the productivity landscape through distribution and consumption at all levels. He said cash is exposed to risk of physical deterioration, fraud, hold-ups, theft , corruption and collision, all resulting in fiscal loses not only to the state but to businesses and individuals. Currency circulated date; he said, suggested that demand for banknotes and coins continued to increase and in most of these countries cash remains the preferred method for small value transactions, adding that the trend is expected to persist over the short to the medium term. In Ghana, he said, cash processing companies and cash logistics companies did not exist, noting that cash couriers and security companies, however, operate in close collaboration with the deposit money banks in the area of cash repackaging, transportation and distribution. Mr. Tsodemeku said in line with current global practice and within the context of cost and risk implications BoG had adopted a new re-circulating policy. The new policy, he said sought to develop currency processing gradually to the deposit money bank, cautioning that the case was subject to counterfeiting and money laundering. The founder and Principal Consultant of e-Crime Bureau, organizers of the programme, Mr. Albert Antwi-Bosiako, said the workshop was to create awareness on the dangers surroundings money transactions. He said a survey conducted by his outfit revealed that though financial institutions do well, some of them lacked the strategies to safeguard their operations. For instance, he said, some nations like South Africa, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria and other neighboring nations had suffered occasions where bullion vans were hijacked amidst kidnapping of people. Besides, money laundering, counterfeiting, and fraud were also perpetuated saying it was important to build their capacity rather than allowing them to be overwhelmed by events. The workshop, he said, would be in four thematic areas; cash handling and operational issues, cash handling and security cash and management or policy issues as well as cash handling and best practices. The participants were drawn from the financial institutions, the security agencies , and corporate institutions among others.