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Efforts by the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and security agencies to combat the smuggling of cocoa beans to neighbouring countries have yielded positive results, following the interception of truckloads of cocoa beans in the past few weeks.
In Accra, COCOBOD received information from the Mamprobi Police about an interception of 508 bags of standard cocoa beans and 72 bags of cocoa waste beans (Abinkyi) at the Lartehbiokoshie “A” cluster of schools in the Ablekuma West Municipality.
Abdul Rahman Amadu, the driver of the truck with registration No. GS 8541-21, carrying the beans was arrested along with two individuals believed to be labourers, who aided in the concealment of the beans in polythene sacks to evade detection. In total, 511 bags (64kg per bag) of good quality cocoa beans and 123 bags of cocoa waste (Abinkyi), each weighing 50 kg, were retrieved.
Following the Accra incident, COCOBOD officials in the Volta Region also intercepted a Mercedes Bens Actros truck with registration number GX 7632-14, carrying smuggled cocoa beans and bound for Togo.
About 320 bags of cocoa beans in polythene sacks, were seized and taken to the Volta Regional Police Headquarters in Ho. The driver of the truck and a 42-year-old Nigerian national named Isaac Oluwaje, who claimed ownership of the cocoa has since been arrested.
The total quantity of the seized cocoa beans, after reconditioning and re-bagging at COCOBOD’s Tema Take-Over Centre, was 406 bags of 64kg per bag. Oluwaje stated that he purchased the cocoa from Bonsu Nkwanta in the Western North Region and intended to sell it to dealers in Togo due to a shortage of cocoa in that country.
In a separate incident at Aflao, two persons, Ebenezer Tetteh and Francis Awuah, who were transporting cocoa beans across the border at Aflao were arrested through a joint effort by COCOBOD and the National Intelligence Bureau. The team retrieved some 276 bags of cocoa beans transported from Osinase in the Eastern Region.
Again, in a night operation on March 13th, 2023, COCOBOD personnel stationed at Sefwi Wiawso successfully intercepted and detained two KIA Rhino trucks, bearing the license plates AS 885-19 and AS 7457-17, in the Wiawso vicinity. The vehicles were found to be transporting 339 bags of cocoa, believed to be intended for smuggling into the Ivory Coast.
The Director of Special Services at COCOBOD, Mr Charles Amenyaglo, who gave these strides has praised the efforts of the informants who provided the intelligence that led to the interceptions, adding that COCOBOD would continue to work tirelessly to prevent the smuggling of cocoa beans.
He said the recent interceptions of trucks loaded with cocoa beans demonstrate the success of these efforts, adding that, COCOBOD would continue to be vigilant to ensure that Ghana's cocoa industry remains profitable and sustainable.
He urged the public to report suspicious activities involving the transportation of cocoa beans to the authorities, promising that their identities would be kept confidential and their efforts would be rewarded greatly.
Meanwhile, the smuggling suspects have been arraigned before various courts.
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