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Crime & Punishment of Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Source: eyeonport

Former port security manager suggests ways to fight forgery of documents


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The former Port Security Manager, Lt. Col Timothy Ba-Taa Banah has described as largely successful the fight waged against the forgery of documents belonging to the port authority and other port agencies by some unscrupulous individuals.

He said the port security under his watch was also able to minimize issues of fraud by some clearing agents against the unsuspecting general public.

Speaking on Eye on Port, Lt. Col Ba-Taa Banah said steps taken by the port Authority to educate the general public on the modus operandi of the fraudsters coupled with the giving out of emergency numbers for victims to call played a key role in minimizing the menace.

He said even though the fraudulent activities happened at the blind side of the port authority, the fraudsters made it look as if the port authority was involved.

He said with the introduction of electronic systems in the port operations, coupled with other initiatives, the activities of the fraudsters were reduced to the barest minimum.

“A lot has improved and I am satisfied with the quality of the potential that we have in the staff of the port security departments both Tema and Takoradi. I am also very satisfied with commitments of the management of GPHA in seeing to it that the element of the various port security department live up to the billing.

The reality of it is that a lot of investments have been done and continue to be done in the security department to ensure that the right resources are gotten, the right training is gotten and that the staff remains discipline and execute their various task to the satisfaction of stakeholders of the industry,” he said.

Lt. Col Ba-Taa Banah entreated stakeholders who issue receipts in the port business to make their numbers available for port users to cross check receipts obtained from them in a bid to stem forgery of documents.

“The challenge remains that the port authority and it operatives must be ahead of these miscreants and I think that one of the ways to go is to go electronic.

With the increasing investment in electronic procedures with the port, with the increasing engagement with stakeholder and using the medium of eye on port program itself, I believe strongly that given the next few years all these wrong perceptions will be eroded and that solutions will be found finally to all the forgery issues,” he said.

He also noted the port authority’s intention to introduce a forensic laboratory will go a long way to curb the menace of forgery in the port.

“Plans are quite advanced to establish a forensic laboratory. The forensic laboratory is supposed to help check the authenticity of documents that will be submitted to the authority and if that is done the fight against fraudulent activities will be moved an inch further,” he said.

All Stakeholders who issue out documents such as receipt and invoices, according to him need to be encouraged to make available numbers that people can really call to verify document that may from time to time raise eyebrows.

Lt. Col Ba-Taa Banah suggested that all security documents used to transact businesses at the port should be printed from one printing press if possible with some security features to help curb the menace of forgery.

“It will be very good if all valid documents come with some security features and most importantly come from one printing source. In that case the frontline security agency like the port security agency will be able to identify them easily,” he said.

He entreated port users not to hesitate to report suspicious activities of fraudsters to the port authority for the necessary actions to be taken against them.

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