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Attempts by the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to point accusing fingers at each other for the latest controversial importation of shotguns into the country has backfired as it turns out that both parties are complicit weapons cache
Indeed, Whatsup News can confirm that both administrations have authorised several consignments of ammunition into the country. The NDC granted several permissions and the current NPP is issuing out licenses to arms dealers to import weapons into the country- a practice that goes as far back as Ghana’s independence.
Intercepted documents by Whatsup News indicates that on January 2, 2018 under the current NPP administration, arms dealer Yadco Ghana Limited was granted the permit to import 2000 shotguns. The permission was signed by Mrs Adelaide Anno-Kumi the Chief Director of the Interior Ministry for the current Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery.
However, the genesis of this particular arms import began under the previous administration of the now opposition NDC when the then Deputy Interior Minister, James Agalga signed an authorisation letter on January 5, 2017-two days before that administration’s tenure ended on January 7, 2017.
In Mr. Agalga’s letter, he gave Yadco permit to import 4,000 pieces of hunting shotguns. Yet, when the Customs Services at the Tema Port grounded the consignment and was revealed to the public by an unknown Whistle-blower, the NDC was quick to condemn the importation.
A statement released by the NDC immediately after the news blew over cited the proliferation of small arms in the country and said it does not augur well for peace in Ghana. “We are also mindful of research findings that suggest that there are at the moment nearly two million small arms in unlawful circulation in Ghana, a situation which does not augur well for our peace and security,” the statement signed by the NDC’s Director of Communications, Kakra Essamuah read.
The weapons under current contention were imported last week in a 40-footer container and were described in declaration documents as “hunting shotguns”, however, the weapons that turned up at the port was “Pump-action Shotguns”. This discrepancy may have perhaps pricked the Customs officers at the port to detain the consignment for lack of clarity.
The confusion gets deeper as the declarant for the said consignment was another arms dealer called Sadetex Ghana Limited. The status of Yadco limited in this controversial import is therefore not very clear.
Reports last week by State-owned Daily Graphic specifically indicated that the weapons were imported by Sadetex Limited and it had a Customs Classification Valuation Report (CCVR) covering a wide variety of firearms. Sadetex is also said to have been given a license by the Ministry of Interior. It is unclear when Sadetex acquired this license.
It is therefore unclear when Sadetex got the license for the current consignment and what happened to the clearance given to Yadco to import these weapons. Another issue of contention is the exact number of weapons imported. Records show that Yadco was granted a permit to import 4,000 shotguns, however, the final clearance given the company on January 2, 2018 shows that they could only import 2,000 weapons.
Meanwhile, Whatsup News can confirm that the bulk of these guns imported into Ghana originate from the United States of America which has a not-so-glowing gun culture. Insiders tell Whatsup News that previously, Ghanaian arms dealer were cleared by officials at the US Embassy, and however, dealers currently deal directly with the US State Department.
Meanwhile, this controversy rages on as Ghana’s security totters under threat from political vigilantes, internal tribal conflicts, a threat of a secessionist movement from the Volta Region and a possible attack by Jihadists from Burkina Faso.