On Friday, the 10th of May, Ghanaians woke up to a trending social media reports that a Maersk line 40 footer container had been spotted at the Port of Tema carrying dangerous goods in general and ammunitions in particular.
The social media report which accompanied the purported story which was in the Twi local dialect though did not come with a lot of details, carried enough information to create some level of panic among Ghanaians.
The Port Community was equally alerted and the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority in partnership with allied security agencies swiftly responded to locate the said container within an impressive record time.
The state security apparatus combined team led by the Customs publicly examined and declared that the container involved contained firearms but legitimately imported through the Tema Port with all due processes regarding cargoes of such nature followed and that the state security apparatus was fully aware of the imported firearms.
“When we intercepted this consignment, we wanted the right thing to be done. There was the need to examine because the previous scanned images presented wasn’t clear and in issues like these, we have every right to reexamine to establish the genuineness or otherwise,” the Head of Preventive, Customs, J.O Aboagye narrated.
The Head of Preventive of Customs of GRA, J.O Aboagye revealed that the container was carrying, a set of about 1,575 hunting ammunition and had all gone through proper channels of the import process, with all due taxes paid and were examined to make sure the consignment declared was accurate with what was imported making it lawfully imported cargo contrary to the earlier social media report and speculations.
“Upon examination, these items were identified and they’re in tandem with the document presented: Shot guns, pump action removal that is pump action with magazine, pump action without magazine, automatic pistol grip and bat; pump action. They all use the same ammunition with 12 gauge,” he disclosed.
The Customs Official also emphasized that the importer is licensed to engage in the business of trade in arms and his business is well known and monitored by the state security apparatus.
“He is a licensed dealer. So he is doing a legitimate business. In case of arms and ammunitions, whatever they import the ministry of interior, for that matter the police is aware and as we finish this exercise the consignment will be escorted by the police.”
The Head of Preventive, Customs, said his outfit took the decision to publicly open the consignment after it had been scanned due in order to allay the public fear.
He said the consignment does not include undeclared unpermitted items like bombs, or AK47 rifles.
He assured Ghanaians that Customs is very alert in ensuring that no contraband items go unchecked for use by unlicensed individuals.
“We want to inform the entire public that the security services at the port are third degree alert and that there is no cause for alarm,” he stated.