INTERIOR MINISTER, when will the Ghana Customs Service explain to other Security Chiefs how cyanide was smuggled into Bawku during curfew hours on 1st December, 2021?
An Owula Mangortey observation...
I am a Citizen.
I rise to request the Minister of Interior to liaise with the Ministers of National Security, Defence and Finance to ask the Ghana Customs Service to explain to sister security agencies namely the Police, Military, Defence Intelligence and NIB, the circumstances under which 50 mini drums of sodium cyanide, a restricted commodity deemed dangerous to human and animal consumption, was smuggled from Cinkase, Togo, to Bawku during curfew hours on 1st December, 2021.
Fortunately, the Police/Military team that effected the arrest of the driver of the truck number BF 2729 D8 03 strictly carried out instructions based on Intelligence passed on by the Upper East Regional Police Cammander, DCOP Dr Sayibu Gariba, and the Commanding Officer of the11th Mechanised Battalion, Colonel Mintah-Agyemang.
The Police/Military team refused to listen to the “Ananse” stories of their Customs Service colleagues, and stationed a patrol team to guard the truck till daybreak.
On 2nd December, 2021, personnel from the Police, Military, Defence Intelligence, NIB and Customs met at the Missiga Custom check point at Bawku to search the contents of the truck and found the following smuggled items: cartons of tomatoe paste, mackerel, spaghetti, frytol cooking oil, sunwatt batteries, and fifty (50) mini drums of sodium cyanide.
The Police are in possession of the mini drums of cyanide while investigating whether the importer who is at large has a permit to import and trade in a dangerous commodity like cyanide in Bawku, a conflict zone which is under curfew.
The rest of the smuggled goods are in the truck parked at the Missiga Customs check point.
I decided to check how far the truck travelled from the Ghana/Togo border to Bawku. So, I drove from the Missiga Customs check point to the main border post at Polimakom. From the Polimakom main Customs and Immigration offices, I followed two separate roads that lead to Togo. On one of the roads, I drove two kilometers to a Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) check point from which there is a “no man’s land” before the Togo border. On the second road, I drove a little over one kilometer to a GIS check point at which I could see the roofs of buildings in Cinkase, Togo.
From my checks, I strongly suggest that the Ghana Customs Service, and to some extent the Ghana Immigration Service, must explain to the other Security Agencies in the Pusiga District and Bawku Municipality, the circumstances under which the truckload of smuggled goods passed through the GIS/ Customs check points and travelled 27 km to Missiga- Bawku in the night.
Caution MCEs and DCEs to stay off this case
The Minister of Interior has to liaise with the Ministers of Local Government and the Upper East Region to caution Municipal and District Chief Executives in the area not to attempt to lead delegations nicodemously to meet the Security Chiefs to “kill” the case.
Smuggling in the midst of tight security in and around Bawku
If they are really sincere, the NIB, DI, Police and Military Chiefs should be surprised, worried, concerned and angry with the activities of smuggling syndicates aided by other sister security agencies in Bawku.
The Police Efforts
As soon as the current Kusasi/Mamprusi conflict started simmering, the Regional Police Commander reportedly mobilised and deployed personnel from Operation Conquered Fist, Counter-Terrorism Unit and the FPU.
I noticed the following Police activities on the ground in Bawku:
(1). Snapcheck points in front of the Bawku District Police Charge Office, the Highways area, the Bawku Sec-Tech frontage and Sabongari.
(2). Some patrol zones in these areas:
(a). In the Bawku township manned by the Bolgatanga Operation Conquered Fist team.
(b). Mognori, Misiga Sabongari under the Bawku Divisional Patrol.
(c). Bawku Chief’s palace, Low Cost Housing area, Zawze road patrolled by the Zebilla Operation Conquered Fist.
(d). Presbyterian Hospital area under the FPU.
(e). The FPU patrol at the animal market and lorry station area.
(3). Additional snapcheck points at the boundary between Bawku Central and the Binduri District; and at the boundary of the curfew coverage area at Missiga; and also at the Water works, and the MCE’s bungalow area.
The Military Effort
The Military High Command sent a reinforcement from Tamale of one platoon from the ABF and another platoon from the 6Bn.
One or two soldiers were placed with each of the Police teams.
The Military also took charge of some specific places and installations. I saw soldiers on guard at the Presbyterian Hospital and at the banks.
By the way, will the Military High Command explain why they deployed soldiers from Tamale who do not know the Bawku terrain when there are soldiers at the 11th Mechanised Battalion barracks at Bazua who know the Bawku terrain.
Even though I can’t immediately place a finger on it, there seems to be
something weird about the Military’s troops deployment for the current Bawku crisis.
Taking cognisance of the Police/Military efforts to provide security, it is inconceivable that smuggling syndicates apparently condoned by Customs (and to some extent Polimakom Immigration personnel) smuggled among other goods, fifty(50) mini drums of cyanide into Bawku during curfew hours.
Minister of Interior, this is scandalous and embarrassing to the Security and Intelligence community.
I shall return.
Owula Mangortey appears on Fridays (8.30-10.00) on #asaasebreakfastshow @AsaaseRadio 99.5 FM