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CEPS overwhelmed by smuggling cases in Ashanti Region

Kwesi Ahiakpor, Ashanti Regional Commander

Kwesi Ahiakpor, Ashanti Regional Commander

The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) says the service needs a stronger checkpoint system to clamp down on smuggling.

Officials observe trucks with smuggled goods often elude them because all checkpoints in the Region are weak.

Unlike those in Dabala, there are no proper checkpoints at Anhwia-Nkanta, Mpasatia, Mankaraso and Ahenkro where on-coming vehicle pull off the road and drive into the checkpoints to be checked.

There are no speed ramps getting close to the barrier serving as checkpoints that will compel the driver to slow down.

Officials are forced to open one side of the barrier they have put up in the middle of the road as a result of traffic congestion.

Drivers, in order to avoid being checked speed up and zoom through, eluding being checked at the make-shift checkpoint.

The security officials of the Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) on the road would have to make a distress call for reinforcement from the rapid deployment team to assist.

“I have toured all the checkpoints and I must confess with the greatest respect that I was not pleased with my checkpoints and barriers,” worried Ashanti Regional Commander, Assistant Commissioner, Kwesi Ahiakpor has said.

This according to him has contributed to the high incidence of smuggling over the years.

In June this year, the division impounded two separate trucks worth about GH¢800,000 in spare parts and wax prints.

The high duty materials were intercepted after supposed clearance and entry through the Takoradi Port.

Requisite taxes from two 40-foot containers have been retrieved subsequently.
But Mr. Ahiakpor says a proper post barriers just like the ones at Aflao, Keta areas and Dabala has to be built in the Ashanti Region to prevent such situations.

In addition, the customs division in Kumasi have identified smugglers are using inter-city public transport services to get away with smuggled goods.

The new mode of operation is being perpetrated by mostly those from the eastern frontiers and corridors.

Officials are worried this is contributing to the high incidence of smuggling through this part of the country.

“They don’t come in fully loaded articulated trucks, they break bulk. You have them in these inter-city buses,” he said.

Assistant Commissioner, Kwesi Ahiakpor says there are plans to collaborate with transport operators to clamp-down on the trend.

Items being smuggled through this mode are mainly shoes and wax prints.

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