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Crime & Punishment of Wednesday, 23 September 2020


Inside story: How $10m worth of cocaine was trailed, busted at Tema

The banned substances were concealed in a consignment of 50 containers of sugar The banned substances were concealed in a consignment of 50 containers of sugar

An in-depth investigation conducted into the reported $10m worth of cocaine busted at the Tema Port reveals that the freight forwarder, Global Cargo and Commodities Ltd assisted both National Security Council (NSC) and the Narcotics Control Commission (NARCOC) to clear the banned substance.

According to a report by The Chronicle newspaper, the ‘coke’ was concealed as part of a consignment of 50 containers of sugar and was meant to be cleared at the Meridian Ports Services (MPS)-operated Terminal Three of the Tema Port.

According to a Security Reporter for the Chronicle, the seized cocaine was part of a consignment of three hundred containers of sugar being shipped from Brazil to a consignee in Ghana, 50 of which arrived earlier.

“On August 6, 2020, Mediterranean Shipping Company Ltd (MSC) vessel MV MSC Monterey departed Santos, Brazil, with a number of containers including the 50, with the shipper named as Usina Santa Isabel. Usina Santa Isabel has an address in Sao Paulo and was consigned to Trade Pass Ghana Ltd in Ghana.

“On September 13, 2020, the ship docked at the Terminal Three of the Tema Port and before the Global Cargo and Commodities Ltd, the freight forwarding company could commence the process for clearance, the NSC officials issued an alert that it has tagged a particular container and for that matter surveillance placed on the box,” the newspaper explained.

According to the report, the clearing agent, having gone through documentation, invited the two security bodies who then escorted the fifty containers from the MPS terminal to the designated warehouse.

Personnel of these security establishments supervised the discharge of the sugar from the various containers on September 11 and 12 until the one that was tagged – with container number MSCU6889036 and security seal FJ08881031 – was intercepted.

The operatives at this stage picked samples of six bags of the sugar for analysis after which some pellets suspected to be narcotics were found.

All this while, the security agencies had the full collaboration of the agent, Global Cargo and Commodities Ltd, to get to the source of the narcotics.

According to the report, after further probes, it came to light that the seller of the 300 20-foot containers of sugar is Sucden Middle East, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

On the Bill of Lading number MEDUST209567, Global Cargo and Commodities Ltd was put in the position of ‘Notify Party’ who becomes responsible for the arrival of the vessel and inform the buyer so chosen by the seller.

The Consignee, in this case, is the entity with financial responsibility for the cargo, that is the buyer.

It was gathered that, whilst the vessel was on her voyage to Tema, the seller informed the freight forwarding Company, Global Cargo and Commodities Ltd, of Tradepass Gh Ltd as the confirmed consignee, however, there was instruction for the goods to be kept at the warehouse till the green light is given for its release, presupposing the business contract has been sealed.

Tradepass Gh Ltd initially intended using their own freight forwarding company to clear the goods but due to some issues it had with the Customs warehousing code, the consignee decided to fall on Global Cargo and Commodities Ltd to clear the fifty containers of sugar.