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General News of Thursday, 14 February 2013

Source: The Herald

‘Bomb’ Importer Accosted

...Company officials meet Police CID

Officials of Maxam Ghana Limited, the company whose explosive products were used as “bomb” and planted under an Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) transformer at Labone in Accra, have admitted ownership of the deadly dynamites as coming from their company, and disclosed that they were assisting the Police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to uncover who is behind the “bomb”.

Meanwhile, a company called Savannah Quarry, based in Buipe in the Northern Region, is reported to have had a large quantity of its dynamites stolen from its stores. “The Herald’s” sources say the security is also investigating into the theft of the dynamites in relation to those found under the ECG transformer.

‘The Herald’s’ sources within the National Security set up have revealed that its Coordinator, Larry Gbevlo-Lartey, has indefinitely banned Maxam Ghana Limited from importing its deadly products into the country until it is able to provide some answers to the “bomb” found under the ECG transformer.

Senior Protocol Officer, Maxam Ghana Limited, Tom Brad Agordo, told “The Herald” that his company is diligently cooperating with the Police CID on the matter, they are however, innocent as to how the products got to into the public domain and found their way under the transformer in front of the Bureau of National Communications (BNC).

Mr. Agordo, who walked into the offices of “The Herald,” following last Monday’s report that his company received a letter from the Director General of Police CID, Prosper Kwame Agblor, pertaining to the issue, which he (Agordo) described as “a grave national threat which must not be taken lightly”.

The Senior Protocol Officer disclosed that there was a meeting between officials of Maxam and the CID last week, with another meeting billed to have taken place Tuesday.

He described the cooperation between his company and the police service as “routine” because the police service, the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and National Security Secretariat were instantly in the know of the company’s activities and that the company felt obliged to assist with the probe.

Maxam Ghana, according to him, is a subsidiary of Maxam International based in Spain. The company started its operations in Ghana as RIO Ghana Limited in 1994 and then changed its name to UEE Explosive Ghana Limited until it finally metamorphosed into Maxam Ghana Limited.

He mentioned the General Manager of the Ghanaian branch, as Emmanuel Ofosu Asante, an ex-official of the defunct State Mines.

The Ghana branch which serves as headquarters for countries like Liberia, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Mali in the West Africa sub-region has its warehouse in Ghana at Tarkwa in the Western Region, from where they supply mining and quarry companies like AngloGold, Chirano Gold Limited and other big quarry companies in the country with explosives.

With a staff strength of 300, Maxam has been instrumental in supplying products for the building of the Keta Sea Defense Project in the Volta Region, and the Tema Habour Dredging Project among other construction projects.

Giving insight to what pertains at the company, Mr. Asante explained that owing to how critical and sensitive their products were they had since their inception in the Ghanaian market involved the security agencies such as the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), the Police, and the Minerals Commission in all their endeavors.

According to him, as required by the laws of Ghana even before the company makes an attempt to import the products, they at all times seek permission from these agencies and when the products arrive at the Habour, they are once again required to seek permission for inspection by these agencies.

Immediately this is done, according to Mr Asante, the police are required to put their seals on them whiles they accompany them to the final destination which is Tarkwa.

Anytime there is a request by a customer, Mr. Agordo accounts, the Police are once again expected to give permission to the inspectorate division of the Minerals Commission before they can serve the customer.

Leftovers according to him are often times either brought back to the company’s warehouse at Tarkwa or stored at the Police weaponry department of the Police.

According to him, the dynamites are used for civil purposes at mining and quarry sites and that they have given the list of their clients to the security agencies.

Other competitors of Maxam Ghana are AEL and Orica. The two supply their products to Goldfields Ghana Limited and Newmont Ghana Limited respectively.

The National Security Coordinator, Mr. Gbevlo-Lartey, banned Maxam Ghana Limited from the importation of dynamites into the country until security operatives complete thorough investigations into the company’s activities and how some of its products got under an ECG transformer in front of a strategic national installation at Labone-Accra.

Both the Ministry of Interior and the Ghana Police Service have been instructed to ensure that the ban order is stringently carried out by a company which is supposed to be serving mining companies and road constructions firms, its products to break rocks.

The four dynamites with the following serial numbers: 17083458, 17083462, 17083446 and 170834440 were discovered in the morning of January 14, this year and thus dismantled by a specialized unit of the Ghana Armed Forces. Some members of the Bomb Squad of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) have said that many lives could have been lost and large properties destroyed had the dynamites exploded.