On Friday April 28, 2017, the Finder Newspaper reported that 500kg of cocaine (10 bags each weighing 50kg) with an estimated street value of US$30 million disappeared from the Tema Port under mysterious circumstances.
It has further been reported that the Narcotics Control Board (NARCOB) had earlier been alerted through the Joint Port Control Unit (JPCU) at the Tema Port, of a ship suspected to be carrying narcotic drugs and heading into Ghanaian waters.
The alert, which was received from the United Nations Office on Drugs (UNODC) and the Surinamese authorities, led to the tracking of the drugs and the ship by the UK’s Operation West Bridge and the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
The ship arrived at the Tema Port in December 2016 but by February 23, 2017, the cocaine had mysteriously disappeared. According to the reports:
• GPHA and Customs officials removed the container suspected to be holding the cocaine from an area of surveillance to another area, the Golden Jubilee Terminal, at the request of the importer, without recourse to NACOB;
• A 24-hour surveillance that the JPCU was supposed to have mounted on the container holding the cocaine was delegated to the GPHA’s head of security at the port;
• The NACOB surveillance team visited the depot where the suspected cocaine was kept only sporadically;
• K9 security dogs, specially trained to detect cocaine, confirmed traces of cocaine in the contraband;
• United Kingdom’s Operation West Bridge conducted sampling by the use of itemisers, which also confirmed traces of cocaine.
The Customs Excise & Preventive Services (CEPS) Sector Commander at the Tema Port, Confidence Nyadzi, in an interview denied that there was cocaine which had gone missing. Mr. Nyadzi claimed that no such thing as cocaine had been imported into the country through the Tema Port and that both the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and NACOB had reached the same conclusion after investigation. In the same interview, however, he, paradoxically, indicated that investigations into the matter had not been concluded.
We, at the Strategic Thinkers Network (STRANEK), are appealing to President Akuffo Addo to ensure that this cocaine saga is not swept under the carpet. NACOB, JPCU, Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), National Security and other relevant authorities must be tasked by Government to probe deeper to unravel the truth.
This matter of the missing US$30 million worth of cocaine should not be relegated to the category of unsolved drug crimes like the 2006 MV Benjamin Saga when Sherif Asem Darkeh is supposed to have carted away 77 parcels of cocaine from a vessel docked at Kpone/Tema, or the 2007 case when cocaine in the custody of the police turned into powered cassava (kokonte).
Urgent efforts must be made to get to the bottom of this matter for the good of the nation. It is important that a signal is sent to the whole world that Ghana will never again revert to being described as a ‘drug transit point’.
We assure the nation that we will not rest until this matter is brought to a logical conclusion. We are all involved in building our motherland Ghana.
Nii Tettey Tetteh
+233 249 659 467
Deputy Executive Director
+233 554 737 092
Word count: 517 Draft saved at 2:17:43 pm.
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