The first hint of the arrival of some suspected substances in a container with marks and numbers MSKU 7633080s respectively being ‘unstuffed’ was from a Senior Assistant of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) Security at the Tema Port.
G. A. Akyea, who was detailed to Depot 12 on Monday, October 18, this year to his superiors - the Port Security Manager, Col. Ansu and the Assistant Port Security Manager, Alhaji Issufu Braimah at about 2:00pm.
Immediately, the Port Security Manager alerted the Police, Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), National Security and Joint Port Control, to move to the scene.
The said container, which was being cleared by Freight Accord Clearing Company, was believed to contain 427 pieces of fuel additives, and 4 (four) travelling bags.
The bags were however, found to contain 125 slabs of substance which were tested on site by personnel from the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) - using a special kit - confirmed the contents were COCAINE.
The 1st bag which was marked “A”, contained 30 slabs, whilst the 2nd bag marked “B” contained 34 slabs. The 3rd bag marked “C” had 34 slabs and the 4th bag marked “C” contained 27, this paper’s investigations revealed
Each slab, the paper gathered, weighed one (1) kilo thus bringing the gross weight of the 125 slabs to 125 kilos.
The items in the container were for Consolidated Shipping Services as per Maersk Line’s Bill of Laden No. 552067329, in the possession of this paper.
Our findings established that the clearing agents - Messrs Kweku Duah Anane and Emmanuel Kofi Brace - were arrested together with the truck driver, one (Gabriel Yaw Atsitogbe) with registration number AS 4014 F.
Documents available indicate that the container was coming from Meridian Port Services (MPS) yard. The driver, Gabriel, was arrested by the GPHA security when he was exiting the Port.
When he was interrogated, he said his master; George Masasu - a tally clerk at one of the depots - instructed him to go and pick that particular container at MPS and send it to Depot 12 for examination.
Interestingly, according to sources, the CEPS entry shows that the consignment belongs to FORMULA PLUS AFRICAN whilst the Bill of Lading picked from the Shipping Line (Maersk) revealed that the container belonged to CONSOLIDATED SHIPPING SERVICES.
As to how the name of the original consignee changed on the CEPS Entry form to FORMULA PLUS AFRICA (the new consignee) is up to the Service to explain.
Whether there was an amendment to that effect, how and who did the amendment are the multimillion unanswered questions.
CONSOLIDATED SHIPPING is an off-dock terminal operator and is therefore, amazing how a consignment for CONSOLIDATED SHIPPING could be cleared by FREIGHT ACCORD and in the name of FORMULA PLUS AFRICA, wondered a source at the harbour.
CEPS entry, according to our investigations, shows that Kwaku Duah Asare, who is the Managing Director of Freight Accord, had his signature on the said document.
The Security agencies were led by the Asst. MD of Freight Accord to a location in Tema Township where Kwaku Duah Asare was picked up, our intelligence revealed.
The substance was weighed at Scanco Yard in the presence of Kwaku Duah Asare together with his assistant, sealed in their respective bags and a CEPS detention note No. 000612 signed by Messrs Akadom and Landi Teih of NACOB, was placed on the exhibits and handed over to the Board.
The exhibits, according to intelligence picked up, were conveyed by a vehicle with registration number BA 2003 Z, driven by the narcotics officer, Mr. Landi Teih, and escorted by two police vehicles to Accra around 6.40pm, the same day.
As at the time of filing this report, information reaching The New Crusading Guide was that the owner of the vehicle, George Manso, assisted the police to pick up the alleged importer of the container believed to be a lady resident at Nima, a suburb of Accra.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime until early this year, had tagged Ghana as a “cocaine coast”, and the Ghanaian Times quoted the Interior Minister, Mr. Martin Amidu on its Tuesday, October 12, 2010 countering, I am happy to say that this unenviable tag has been removed; courtesy our resolute commitment to fight against illicit drugs.
The minister was addressing the opening ceremony of an ECOWAS strategic level seminar on organized crime and human security in Accra.
But the government’s patting of itself at the back on the recent UN agency report - shedding Ghana from the list of drug destination countries - had been criticised as “hasty conclusions” towards the fight against the drug menace, especially on the heels of yet another arrest of 125 kilograms of substances believed to be cocaine at the Tema Harbour on Monday.
Dr. Kwesi Anning, a security analyst speaking on Joy FM (Accra-based radio station) said he was not convinced Ghana is no longer a hub for international drug trade, indicating that the UN agency drew “hasty conclusions” in its report.
He called for what he termed “superior strategies” by the country to outwit the ruse adopted by the drug cartels, explaining that instead of “jubilating” over the report, stringent measures need to be adopted to halt the situation.
According Dr Anning who is the Executive Secretary of the Kofi Annan Peace Keeping Training Centre (KAPKTC), the seeming inactivity by the cartels in the country over the past few months might not necessarily be an end to the drug trade.
Rather, the drug barons could be engaging in a deliberate strategy to divert government’s attention from their activities.
He warned the drug situation might take a worse turn and assume the form of terrorism if the country was not vigilant, citing three recent arrests of Malians of Al Qaeda origins in Ghana who were alleged to be peddling cocaine.