The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) say it will not engage in what could be perceived as a ‘media war’ with fellow government agencies, especially, the Narcotics Control Commission, with whom it regularly works closely, when investigation are ongoing in the alleged missing of a substance believed to be cocaine.
“The Customs Division remains steadfast in carrying out its preventive functions at all the country’s borders and will not under any circumstance compromise on its mandate. We continue to cooperate with all state agencies, especially, in joint border patrols in the common interest of good governance, including working with all other partner organizations and stakeholders to ensure the security and development of Ghana”, said the Division in a statement signed by the Assistant Commission, Communications & Public Affairs, Mrs. Florence Asante.
The position of the Customs Division of the GRA follows a seemingly conflict situation between it and that of the Narcotics Control Commission over the alleged mission cocaine.
The Director-General of the Narcotics Control Commission had threatened to sue the GRA over failure to release the substance which was impounded at the Kpoglo border post with $200,000 in a Nigerian registered Toyota Land Cruiser Prado with registration number LSR 815 FV.
The exercise was jointly carried out by the Customs Division of the GRA and the local Office of the Narcotics Control Commission. All the items that were found in the vehicle were documented by the officers of the joint security operation at Aflao and handed over to the Customs Division for safekeeping.
Local officials of the Narcotics Control Commission had requested the items be verified to ascertain whether they were all intact before it could be escorted to its Headquarters in Accra on Monday, June 8, 2020.
The request was granted but was detected 100.10 grammes of the substance were uncounted for, a situation which contradicts the records that were taken by the joint security operation team.
According to the statement, the Customs Division of the GRA had at all times acted professionally and so together with the Immigration Service officers, escorted the intercepted items to Accra.
“But at Dawa, the vehicle developed a mechanical fault and the items were therefore escorted to Accra without the vehicle (Land Cruiser Prado), However, the vehicle was towed to Accra the next day and remains in the custody of the Customs Division headquarters. The items were handed over to the Commissioner Customs Division in the presence of invited media personnel. Another inventory was carried with the report detailing the description of the exhibits. The report acknowledged that 100.10 grammes of the substance was missing. However, officers of the Narcotics Control Commission refused to take delivery of the exhibits because the vehicle was not part of the items”, the statement in part read.
It added “When NACOB officials refused to take delivery of the exhibits, the Commissioner Customs Division then directed that the exhibits should be handed over to the Police Forensic Laboratory for the necessary testing and the cash amounting to US$200,000 was deposited at the Bank of Ghana. We want to put it on record that the process of arrest, handling of and handing over of all the exhibits has been inclusive, transparent and was carried out with the utmost integrity on the part of the Customs Division”.
The Commission said it currently carrying out detailed investigations into the circumstances surrounding the handling and storage of the mission substance, assuring that the outcome and findings of its inquiry will be made public.