zaterdag 29 april 2017

500 Kilo cocaïne uit Suriname ter waarde van 30 miljoen Amerikaanse dollar verdwenen in Tema Haven, Ghana

Autoriteiten in Ghana ontkennen echter berichtgeving over verdwenen cocaïne


Een grote partij cocaïne uit Suriname zou spoorloos zijn verdwenen in de Ghanese haven van de stad Tema. Het gaat om  500 kilo met een straatwaarde van 30 miljoen dollar, zo berichtte de Ghanese krant The Finder in haar editie van vrijdag 28 april 2017. De cocaïne zat in tien zakken van waarschijnlijk elk 50 kilo die zijn weggehaald uit een container rijst die uit Suriname was geïmporteerd.

De lading arriveerde in december vorig jaar in Ghana en de verdwijning werd eind februari dit jaar ontdekt. Drugshonden die in de container werden losgelaten, bevestigden dat er nog sporen van de drugs aanwezig waren, maar ook laboratoriumtesten verricht door de Britse narcoticadienst op sporen die waren aangetroffen, werden positief getest.

Op 24 oktober vorig jaar zouden de Surinaamse autoriteiten en het VN-orgaan tegen drugssmokkel, UNODC, de autoriteiten in Ghana hebben geinformeerd, dat een schip met een lading rijst en cocaïne aan boord op weg was naar Tema. De nummers van de vijf containers waarin de drugs vermoedelijk verstopt waren, werden ook doorgeseind.

Vanaf het moment dat de containers aan wal waren gebracht werden deze door de Ghanese autoriteiten in de gaten gehouden. Toen de importeur twee maanden daarna nog steeds niet was verschenen om de rijst in te klaren, werd in de eerste week van februari bepaald dat de containers op 25 februari opengemaakt zouden worden. Uit onderzoek is intussen gebleken, dat op 22 februari de container met registratienummer TRHU-1653800 zonder medeweten van de Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) werd verplaatst naar een andere lokatie. NACOB trommelde toen alle belanghebbenden en betrokken instanties op en de container werd op 23 februari geopend. Toen bleek dat van de 550 zakken rijst van elk 50 kilo die op de verschepingsdocumenten waren aangegeven, 10 waren verdwenen.

Naar verluidt zou de container door medewerkers van de Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) en de douane zijn verplaatst. De douane ontkent echter elke betrokkenheid.

Inmiddels wordt onderzocht waarom de GPHA belast werd met de bewaking, geen 24-uur surveillance per dag door een speciaal team was ingesteld en NACOB-functionarissen slechts sporadisch gingen controleren of de verdachte containers nog aanwezig waren.

Op de verschepingsdocumenten staat het Surinaamse bedrijf 'Caribbean Grain Industry' als exporteur aangegeven, meldt The Finder. Het Ghanese bedrijf 'Joro Farms and Agricultural Processing Limited' dat de rijst importeerde, ontkent op de hoogte te zijn geweest dat cocaïne was verstopt in de lading.

Overigens wordt de berichtgeving in The Finder verworpen door de douanedienst (Customs Excise and Preventive Service, CEPS). 

Daarnaast heeft Confidence Nyadzi, de Sector Commant van Tema Haven, in een interview op Citi FM gezegd, dat het artikel 'niet op waarheid' berust. 'Ik weet dat deze kwestie besproken is bij de minister van Binnenlandse Zaken.... Er was geen cocaïne in Tema Haven onder toezicht van wie dan ook die wordt vermist.' 

Daarnaast zijn op social media diverse berichten verschenen waarin sterk wordt getwijfeld aan de juistheid en betrouwbaarheid van het artikel in The Finder.




(Red. De Surinaamse Krant/de Ware Tijd/Twitter/NewsGhana/ClassFM/The Finder)



Lees hieronder het vervolg van het artikel, zoals gisteren gepubliceerd op de nieuwswebsite NewsGhana.com:

UNODC/Suriname Provided Intelligence
On October 24, 2016, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in partnership with Suriname authorities alerted the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) of a ship from Suriname in South America carrying the said cocaine in Tema Port in Ghana.
NACOB Boss Alerted Tema Port Narcotics Analyst
Sources familiar with the matter told the Finder that on the said day, NACOB head office, informed Felicia Wuaku, a Narcotics Analyst who is the head of the Joint Port Control Unit (JPCU) at Tema Port and all stakeholders were informed accordingly.
Tema Port Narcotics Analyst Informs Other Stakeholders
Sources at NACOB said on December 7 2016, Felicia Wuaku wrote letters to other stakeholders but Customs received their letters on December 8 2016.
According to the investigations, for over two months, the importer did not show up to clear the rice.
As a result, the Finder learnt that NACOB, in the first week of February, fixed February 25, 2017 to undertake compulsory scanning of the container and inform all stakeholders.
However, NACOB sources said on February 22, 2017, intelligence indicated that one of the containers with identification number TRHU-1653800 was moved to Golden Jubilee Terminal without the knowledge of NACOB.
Subsequently, NACOB quickly called all stakeholders on February 23, 2017 for compulsory examination of the container which was believed to contain the cocaine.
Agencies Present At Scanning
Agencies present during the opening of the container for testing are: NACOB, K9 Unit (Special Dogs Academy), UK’s Operation WestBridge Officials, Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, National Security, US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA).
A Joint Port Control Unit was represented by Felicia Wuaku, Francis Worlanyo Kpegah and Henry Asarfo Brain.
When the container was opened, it was realised that 10 bags, each weighing 50kgs were missing from the consignment – in other words, 500kgs suspected to be the pure cocaine had been removed by persons yet to be identified.
K9 Dogs, itemisers confirmed traces of pure cocaine.
However, when sampling was conducted on the rice, K9 Security Dogs and sampling by the use of itemisers of Operation West Bridge team both confirmed traces of pure cocaine.
Questions for JPCU
According to the Finder’s investigations, questions are being asked as to why the head of JPCU, Felicia Wuaku, instead of detailing a surveillance team to keep the containers in sight 24hours, left that duty to GPHA Head of Security while a two-member NACOB Surveillance Team only visited Depot 10 intermittently to ensure that the containers were there.
NACOB blames Customs
NACOB sources said their investigations revealed that GPHA and Customs officials moved the container to Golden Jubilee Terminal on request from the importer to have the rice tested without informing NACOB.
Customs Debunks Allegation
However, Confidence Nyadzie, Tema Sector Commander of Customs, described the accusations levelled against Customs as baseless.
Response of Operations West Bridge
When contacted, the UK High Commission on behalf of Operation West Bridge sent this email response: “The UK Government represented by the British High Commission has a long and fruitful relation with Ghanaian law enforcement agencies. We are unable to comment on specific cases.”
Information on Importer
On the bill of lading, Joro Farms and Agricultural Processing Limited, located at Kaneshie in Accra is named as the importer of the rice from Caribbean Grain Industry in Suriname.
The Finder contacted the importer who declined to give his name but denied knowledge of cocaine hidden in his consignment of rice but admitted that NACOB had been questioned over the said missing cocaine.
A Case of Rip Off
However, sources in the intelligence community told the Finder that the cocaine could be a case of rip off which in drug law enforcement means smart drug lords outsmarting importers and exporters by putting drugs in consignments but removing them before examination in circumstances where the importer or exporter has no knowledge.
The Work Of A Cabal In Tema Port
The sources also added that it could be a case of a cabal at Tema Port which took advantage of loopholes in security arrangements by JPCU or possibly some JPCU members could have been involved in the smuggling of the cocaine out of the Port.
Source: The Finder

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'Missing cocaine' story doubtful – Agbey


The cocaine missing story put out by the Finder newspaper on Friday April 28 raises some doubt because the paper failed to give substantial evidence to support the claim, David Agbey, a security expert, has said.

According to him, the failure of the paper to provide adequate information on the subject matter has made it difficult for security experts do a comprehensive analysis of the situation.

His comment comes on the heels of the Customs Excise and Preventive Service saying that there is no missing consignment of cocaine at the Tema Port, as revealed by the Sector Commander of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) at the Tema Port, Confidence Nyadzi.

The Finder reported that 10 bags of suspected cocaine, each weighing 50kg (500kg in all), hidden in a consignment of rice, with an estimated street value of about $30million, have vanished from the Tema Port under mysterious circumstances.

But the Customs boss said: “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 Pianim, myself, NACOB, and the relevant stakeholders. We looked at all the issues involved, as to whether there was 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.”

He continued: “We have done investigations, BNI has done investigation, NACOB is doing investigations. It is expected that we will know what exactly the story is; whether there is cocaine at all or not. On authority, I can tell you that I’m not aware of any cocaine shipment."

“I’m the head of Customs at Tema Port and I’m not aware of cocaine shipment. I am telling you categorically that I am not aware of any missing cocaine at Tema Port. If somebody says so, perhaps he has some facts I don’t have,” he told Accra-based Citi FM on Friday, 28 April.

Speaking on this development on 505 on Class 91.3FM on Friday, Mr Agbey said: “As we speak now, it is a bit difficult for us to accept the report coming from the Finder newspaper. I say so because of the fact that the Customs Excise and Preventive Service has actually denied the fact that there has been such a cocaine scandal or whatever it is.

“So it is making it a bit difficult for us to discuss the issue as we would have wanted to actually discuss it unless the Finder gentleman, the editor, proves otherwise that he has substantial evidence that suggests that ‘Yes, cocaine actually entered into our shores at the Tema Harbour without the knowledge of the customs people and other security agencies that were supposed to take charge and take responsibility to make sure that those people who actually brought the cocaine are arrested.’

“…At this moment, it is not good for some of us to critically digest the issue as we would have wished to deal with it. I don’t like conjecturing. As somebody who understands security-related issues, you need to speak to the fact, you need to have a lot of evidence so that when you are discussing the subject you can profile a certain level of solution to the problem. But as it is now, it is a bit doubtful for us to be able to do genuine contribution to knowledge as far as this subject of cocaine scandal is concerned.”

Source: Ghana/ClassFMonline.com/91.3FM

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