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Opinions of Friday, 28 April 2017

Columnist: Samuel Darko Appiah

Heads must roll at Ghana Ports; it's been too long!

The turf war between Ghana Customs and Joint Port Control must be curtailed. Joint Port Control is a global initiative to profile and target cocaine to transit and consumer countries. It was set up in 2007 and Ghana happens to be an early beneficiary since it was set up.

It is worrying to notice that in 2017, such SPO globally AGREED and Ghana being signatory to the SPO will simply not follow it. What is the SPO?
The SPO states that a container tagged SHALL NOT be opened without PERMISSION from the JPC.

In October 2016, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) alerts NACOB of a ship with substances suspected to be cocaine.
December 2016, ship docks at Tema Harbour

February 2017-things started happening........and ...alleged cocaine then vanished...

Who on the part of Ghanaian authorities at the Customs AUTHORIZED the container to be opened contrary to the SPO. in this case Ghana NACOB did its job to the latter by helping tag the container.

How on earth did the customs people allow the container to be opened without permission from JPC.

AND this is one easy task to track those responsible. It is suggested an investigative committee be set up if not already in place. The team must include but not limited to past executive secretaries of NACOB- Akrasi Sarpong, Mr. Quanson among others to track the breaches and identify the chain of command and who disregarded the procedure.

But I am not oblivious of the political capital to be made from this. Whether mere coincidence or stereotype, the NPP government will suffer collateral damage. Political opponents of this government have always tagged them with Narcotics activates, something the party has done very little to discount.

But nature has a way of balancing events. The NDC in 2009 did experience a coup de grace over the arrests of cocaine dealers in London and its attendant political linkages.

I have suggested the drug Lords wanted to take advantage of the election period to ship in and transit to destinations. The dates supra clearly suggest an attempt to take advantage of the system and period of transition in Ghana.

But yes, systems must work and people must be held liable. Since such democratic processes cannot, should not be used as an excuse for criminality to prevail.

All eyes are now on the AG. Its important Ghana gets to the bottom of this to save its face in the international community and to boldly denounce that its officials are complicit in drug deals. This will not be the first time cocaine has vanished or turned into something else. Time must show reform and seriousness to tackling the drug menace.

I hope this information will deepen the discursive formation on this subject.

Sammy Darko is a Journalist, Lecturer, Security Analyst and law Student.

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