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General News Fri, 27 Oct 2006

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War On Drug Trafficking Declared

Ghana, UK to collaborate to fight drug trafficking
Accra, Oct. 26, GNA - Ghana and the United Kingdom would from November 15 2006 begin an exercise codenamed "Operation Westbridge" at the Kotoka International Airport to reduce the use of the Airport for drug trafficking.

The operation to last between one and two years would involve the deployment of experienced UK Customs Officers and state-of-the-art scanning equipment that can detect drugs at various parts of the person. Ms Bridget Prentice, UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs, told a press conference in Accra, that Operation Westbridge was based on a specific request from Ghanaian authorities for assistance at KIA to prevent the onward transport of narcotics to Europe and elsewhere.

She said the security officers from UK would train their Ghanaian counterparts in the use of the equipment; profiling; targeting; intelligence gathering; questioning and other anti-smuggling techniques. Ms Prentice said similar projects had been undertaken elsewhere and had made a real difference.

Ms Prentice said: "In Jamaica, for example, the impact has been substantial; over four years, the numbers of Jamaican couriers detected at UK airports has fallen from almost 1,000 per year to just five. "We want to do more to help to build local capacity to fight drug trafficking, building on our work in recent months with the Narcotics Control Board and the Ghana Police Service.

"We want to develop operational co-operation to help to improve the intelligence picture that exists on those involved in the drugs trade, so that local agencies can take appropriate action.'

Commending the Government for establishing the Georgina Wood Committee to investigate two specific drugs-related cases, she urged the government to pursue the Committee's recommendations vigorously. Ms Prentice said she welcomed the Government of Ghana's

determination to pass legislation that would make life more difficult for those who sought to use Ghana as a transit point for drugs. She said she welcomed the progress towards the passage of anti-money laundering legislation.
The Interior Minister, Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah said the drug problem in Ghana was a real one.
"The ready availability of the drugs, the disturbing abuse of drugs by significant sections of the population and the arrest and imprisonment of Ghanaians abroad, notably Europe, the United States of America and South East Asia are clear indicators that there is a problem," Mr Kan-Dapaah said.
Among the drugs abused are marijuana, cocaine, heroine and some amphetamine stimulants and psychotropic substances.
Both cocaine and heroine are imported illegally from abroad and although primarily intended for re-exportation there has over the years developed a local consumption pattern that gives cause for serious concern.
Mr Kan-Dapaah announced that the Anti-Money Laundering Bill as well as the Proceeds of Crime Bill would be passed within the shortest possible time.
He said a Consultative Meeting of Experts on Narcotics Control was to be held in Elmina in the Central Region where experts would provide inputs into the new drug policy; recommend a new structure for the Narcotic Control Board (NACOB) and determine the logistical and other resource needs of the NACOB.
Deputy Attorney- General and Minister of Justice, Mr Kwame Osei-Prempeh said there had been more convictions since the passage of the new drug law under which bail could not be granted for drug offences.
He said trial for drug offences would also be fast-tracked.
Mr Kwamena Bartels, Minister of Information and National Orientation, said the Government was determined to win the war on drugs and appealed to the media to do more to make the fight a success. Mr Francis Poku, Minister of National Security, said security would be strengthened to check the importation of narcotics through the seaports.

Ghana, UK to collaborate to fight drug trafficking
Accra, Oct. 26, GNA - Ghana and the United Kingdom would from November 15 2006 begin an exercise codenamed "Operation Westbridge" at the Kotoka International Airport to reduce the use of the Airport for drug trafficking.

The operation to last between one and two years would involve the deployment of experienced UK Customs Officers and state-of-the-art scanning equipment that can detect drugs at various parts of the person. Ms Bridget Prentice, UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs, told a press conference in Accra, that Operation Westbridge was based on a specific request from Ghanaian authorities for assistance at KIA to prevent the onward transport of narcotics to Europe and elsewhere.

She said the security officers from UK would train their Ghanaian counterparts in the use of the equipment; profiling; targeting; intelligence gathering; questioning and other anti-smuggling techniques. Ms Prentice said similar projects had been undertaken elsewhere and had made a real difference.

Ms Prentice said: "In Jamaica, for example, the impact has been substantial; over four years, the numbers of Jamaican couriers detected at UK airports has fallen from almost 1,000 per year to just five. "We want to do more to help to build local capacity to fight drug trafficking, building on our work in recent months with the Narcotics Control Board and the Ghana Police Service.

"We want to develop operational co-operation to help to improve the intelligence picture that exists on those involved in the drugs trade, so that local agencies can take appropriate action.'

Commending the Government for establishing the Georgina Wood Committee to investigate two specific drugs-related cases, she urged the government to pursue the Committee's recommendations vigorously. Ms Prentice said she welcomed the Government of Ghana's

determination to pass legislation that would make life more difficult for those who sought to use Ghana as a transit point for drugs. She said she welcomed the progress towards the passage of anti-money laundering legislation.
The Interior Minister, Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah said the drug problem in Ghana was a real one.
"The ready availability of the drugs, the disturbing abuse of drugs by significant sections of the population and the arrest and imprisonment of Ghanaians abroad, notably Europe, the United States of America and South East Asia are clear indicators that there is a problem," Mr Kan-Dapaah said.
Among the drugs abused are marijuana, cocaine, heroine and some amphetamine stimulants and psychotropic substances.
Both cocaine and heroine are imported illegally from abroad and although primarily intended for re-exportation there has over the years developed a local consumption pattern that gives cause for serious concern.
Mr Kan-Dapaah announced that the Anti-Money Laundering Bill as well as the Proceeds of Crime Bill would be passed within the shortest possible time.
He said a Consultative Meeting of Experts on Narcotics Control was to be held in Elmina in the Central Region where experts would provide inputs into the new drug policy; recommend a new structure for the Narcotic Control Board (NACOB) and determine the logistical and other resource needs of the NACOB.
Deputy Attorney- General and Minister of Justice, Mr Kwame Osei-Prempeh said there had been more convictions since the passage of the new drug law under which bail could not be granted for drug offences.
He said trial for drug offences would also be fast-tracked.
Mr Kwamena Bartels, Minister of Information and National Orientation, said the Government was determined to win the war on drugs and appealed to the media to do more to make the fight a success. Mr Francis Poku, Minister of National Security, said security would be strengthened to check the importation of narcotics through the seaports.

Source: GNA

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