Border Patrol Officers of the Ghana Immigration Service have impounded two trucks loaded with bags of smuggled fertilizers meant for government flagship planting for Food and Jobs social intervention initiative in the Upper West Region.
Chief Superintendent Felix Agyeman Bosompem, Sector Commander at the Hamile Border Post confirmed this during an interview with Ghanaweb.
According to him, the team set off to track the trucks which were being transported through an unapproved route at Fiemo in the Sissala West District upon a tip-off from a reliable source.
“On 1st August, around 1 am, I had a call from one of our reliable informants at Fiemo that there are these two trucks being loaded with government subsidized fertilisers. Normally when loading is being done around that time, you are 99% assured that it will cross the border through an unapproved route because people don’t usually load around that odd hour.
I picked 5 of my men and we set off for the location, when we got there, the trucks were not there so we proceeded to the unapproved routes. We couldn’t find our way back so we had to detour through the bush and whilst we were trying to find the main Gumu road, our flash light reflected on some reflectors about 300 meters away and we realized that it was the DVLA reflectors so we decided to go closer.
When we got there, we realized there were two trucks with a lot of people around it, and the trucks were loaded so quickly we fired four rounds of ammunitions, we were holding 2 pistols and then all of them run into the bush then after 5 minutes, they all started coming out and we told them to come because we can do something about it. One of the guys, Mohammed Ibrahim approached me and said the goods are for him and that they were taking it to a Burkina town next to the unapproved route is”, he said.
Per his account, they were offered a bribe of GHC 25,000.00 as they tried engaging the men at the location while they secretly waited for military reinforcement because they were out-numbered.
“I told him that they are sabotaging government. So he tried to negotiate, started with 3,000 and I tried to buy time negotiating because when we fired the ammunition, we had to call for military reinforcement. We went as far as 25,000 and then the military people showed up. The people were 10 and we were 6 and we didn’t know if they were armed or not. They came with about 8 men fully armed and then the owner absconded into the bush. We found out that there were loading boys and two drivers of a Kia Rhino and a Hyndai Mighty. Apparently there was another truck at Burkina to offload the goods.
We coerced them into owning up the drivers, we started the vehicles and escorted it to the Fiemo town. After we took their details, we handed them over to two police officers who were at the Police post at Fiemo and be released the next day”.
He further revealed how the goods were finally transported to Wa after it was handed over to the sector and custom officers at Fiemo upon arrival and on the instructions of the Regional Minister.
In all he said, about 2,000 bags were retrieved from the trucks which were being smuggled to neighbouring Burkina Faso.
“Finally we got to Hamile around 5:30 am. The sector officer and customs officers were there so I handed over to them and waited for instructions.
The next day instructions came that we had to escort the goods to Wa on the instructions on the Regional Minister”, he added.