General News of Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Source: The Enquirer

Customs continues missing metals investigation

A team of investigators from the customs headquarters in Accra is investigating whether or not the seals on the siezed containers of missing metals were tampered with in an attempt to find out what happened to them, according to the Enquirer.

The contents of 31 containers of scrap metals seized at the Tema Heavy Industrial area went missing this month after being held by customs at the harbour.

According to a highly placed source at the headquarters of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), basic questions begging for answers include the handing over and taking over of the seized items in the containers and the state in which these containers were found, which has to do with what the officers saw and what they sealed.

The relevance of these questions depends on whether the seals found on the containers are the same original seals.

In a related development, the Minister of Trade and industry, Haruna Iddrisu, has stated that government will not be lenient with the individuals involved in the disappearance of the ferrous scrap metals while they were in the care of the Customs.

This, he said, is due to the fact that government is embarking on an effort to protect the local steel industry which is in a state of collapse because of the exportation of scrap metals, even though it is enjoying an administrative ban.

The minister said this last Thursday when he met with the Ghana Steel Manufacturers Association and the Greater Accra Regional Scrap Dealers Association shortly after he was sworn-in as the Sector Minister.

And to ensure that the local steel industry has enough raw materials to feed on, the minister has stated his readiness to be in Parliament today to lay the bill that would make it an offence to export ferrous scrap metals from the country.

Our source at the meeting stated that the minister is bent on achieving this in the next 30 days.