General News of Tuesday, 29 January 2013
President John Mahama has ordered investigations into reports that 80 million dollars worth of Ghana’s gold being transported to Iran was seized at a Turkish airport.
Turkish News Agency, Anatolia had reported that the plane transporting the gold was grounded for lack of proper documentation.
Joy News investigated the story and discovered that local media houses first published the story attributing it to a private Iranian news agency, MNA.
The Ghanaian government was reported to be behind the gold transaction with Iran, a country with strict international trade restrictions.
Government has however denied knowledge of any official transaction with Iran that required the exchange of gold.
Spokesperson to the President, John Jinapor was quick to deny the allegations in an interview with Joy News.
“Investigations are being carried out and so when we get enough and adequate information, we would relay it to the people of Ghana. But I can confirm that the government of Ghana has not, has not shipped any gold neither has it transferred any gold.”
Joy News checks revealed that contrary to local reports, the story was first published by the official Turkish news agency, Anatolia. The agency reported that the plane, airbus A-300 owned by a Turkish private company left Accra for Iran but was forced to make an emergency landing at the Istanbul Ataturk Airport to refuel and reshuffle personnel on 1st January.
The plane was however detained because managers could not produce the necessary documents.
Joy News called the public information office of the Turkish News Agency and it turns out they also transcribed the story from the Associated Press.
All Joy News checks in Turkey confirmed that a plane flying from Ghana carrying cargo suspected to be gold was indeed detained by Turkish custom officials. What we cannot say for sure is whether Ghana was its originating country.
A pro Turkish government newspaper Yeni Safak Daily, for instance, claims the plane originated from Algeria. It is not also clear if the 1.5 tons of gold was indeed Ghana’s commitment to Iran.
To add to the mystery, Officials at the Kotoka International Airport have confirmed to Joy News they have no record of an Airbus A-300 cargo plane flying from Ghana to Iran on or before the 1st of January.
The Minerals Commission also has no record of any private or public transaction of the quantity of gold in question.
The President has therefore ordered investigations that must resolve one mystery - the identity, true origin and contents of the cargo plane detained in Turkey on the 1st of January.