We were not aware of any cocaine  – Tema Port

It seems the managers of the Tema Port were not informed about the containers within their domain that allegedly had cocaine concealed in it. 

The Finder Newspaper on Friday reported that 500 kilograms of cocaine worth about $30 million dollars had disappeared from the Port under mysterious circumstances.

But the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Tema Port, Juana Adda told Citi News that they were only told by the Joint Port Control Unit (JPCU) that the containers were carrying rice.

“Yes indeed, the said containers were delivered to Depot 10 last year and around November/December 2016, the joint Port control unit wrote to [Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority] GPHA requesting the authority to prompt them when the said containers were due to be sent to the Golden Jubilee. In order words, the said containers should not move out of the terminal without their knowledge.”

“The unit further requested that the said boxes would have to go through scanning before conveyed to the Golden Jubilee Terminal (GJP). The letter to GPHA did not state the reason for that directive. The letter did not indicate that cocaine was concealed in one of the containers,” she told Citi News on Friday.

The PRO explained that the importer of the rice in February 2017 wrote a letter to the Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) requesting to send samples to the lab for testing which she said was approved by CEPS.

“Following Customs approval, GPHA moved one of the containers to the state warehouse,” she added.

When asked whether Tema Ports alerted the Joint Control Team about the development, Madam Adda explained that “Customs [CEPS] is part of the Joint Control Unit and whatever sampling would be done, NACOB is a member of the committee so if it has to do with sampling all of them would be part.”

“I believe that when they asked us to move the container, we complied with their directive. It was the duty of CEPS to also inform other members of the team that indeed this was happening. NACOB and Customs under these circumstances would have worked together,” she noted.

Why wasn’t there 24-hour surveillance?

She further blamed NACOB for the missing cocaine if indeed there was any since according to her, the board could have mounted a 24-hour surveillance on the containers.

“If the NACOB knew that cocaine has been concealed in one of the containers, the onus was on them to have taken over and mounted a 24-hour surveillance until such time that the importer was ready to clear. Maybe they could have hinted us that there was cocaine in this container and that is why we are doing this,” she said.

No cocaine missing – CEPS Tema Port commander
Meanwhile, the Sector Commander of CEPS, of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), at the Tema Port, Confidence Nyadzi, has dismissed claims that some cocaine had disappeared from the Port.

According to him, thorough investigations conducted by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), the Ministry of Interior and other sector institutions, revealed that no container with cocaine had been detained at the Port.

“I can tell you that there is no truth in that reportage. I know that this matter has been dealt with at the office of the Minister of Interior and at that meeting was the commissioner of customs, the ex-commissioner, Mr. John Vianney, myself, NACOB and the relevant stakeholders. We looked at all the issues involved, as to whether there was a cocaine missing or not, I don’t think anybody can tell you that. And I’m telling you that the report is misleading. There was no cocaine in Tema Port in anybody’s custody which got missing,” Mr Nyadzi insisted.

By: Godwin Akweiteh Allotey/citifmonline.com/Ghana

Published on 28 April 2017 | 3:53 pm at Source