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15.05.2007 Crime & Punishment

Four Arrested For Diverting Rice

The Western Regional Police Command has arrested four persons for allegedly diverting 12,000 bags of rice, which were being conveyed to Mali, onto the local market.

The rice is valued at more than ¢350 million.

The four, who are a businessman, Alhaji Tahiru, two security men of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) in Takoradi and an insurance clerk, have been granted bail.

A fifth suspect, identified as Nowel Nkum and believed to be the brain behind the deal is however, on the run.

The rice, which was in transit to Mali, was branded as “sweeping rice” by the perpetrators and diverted to Accra.

A source close to the GPHA, which confirmed the deal to the Daily Graphic, said the police and the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) had taken over investigations into the case.

It said as soon as the deal was discovered, the perpetrators went to the open market with the view to buying some rice to replace the diverted consignment but the perpetrators could not get the same brand and quantity which was imported from Pakistan.

The suspects were arrested by the BNI when they met at a popular spot in Takoradi, Harbour View, to discuss how to refund the money to the importer.

Narrating how the deal was executed, the source said the tally clerks of GPHA and the contracted insurance company prepared the waybill to cover the truckload of 1,200 bags of rice to ensure a safe passage through the port.

After they had succeeded in crossing the port security, the two who prepared the waybill managed to pick the duplicates of the waybill to prevent it from being entered into the database of GPHA.

The source said Nowel Nkum allegedly contracted Alhaji Tahiru to look for a buyer, who took all the 12,000 bags, and the money was shared among them.

Story by Moses Dotsey Aklorbortu

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