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30.10.2007 General News

IGP: No ammo missing

By GNA

The Inspector General of Police, Patrick Kwarteng Acheampong has discounted media publications that large quantities of arms and ammunition imported in 2004 have gone missing.

He said since 2001, the Interior Ministry then headed by Alhaji Malik Yakub, banned the importation of arms and ammunition and except in a very few instances for the importation of cartridges, issuance of import licenses for dealers have been banned.

The Daily Graphic reported on Tuesday that the final day sitting of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament recorded a gloomy picture following disclosures that large quantities of arms and ammunition imported in 2004 had disappeared.

But the IGP, who appeared before the Committee to answer questions on the Auditor General's Report for 2004 and 2005, said the Graphic account could not be entirely accurate because no issues of missing ammo or arms were discussed.

“To begin with, nobody in Parliament; neither the police nor the Auditor General nor the Chairman of the Committee said that arms and ammunition imported in 2004 were missing. Nobody said that. The question or the discussion was about register; revenue register for arms and ammunition.”

Mr. Patrick Akyeampong told Joy FM's Newsnite programme that registered firearms dealers were obliged to pay fees at the end of each year, however, the Auditor General's Report felt that per the register as at 2004, the sums and list of licensed dealers did not match up.

The situation had already been found out, and according to him, that led to the ban on the importation of arms by the then Minister who instructed that the register be updated because most of the licensed dealers could not be traced.

He said out of about 300 licensed dealers or businesses, only 123 existed upon the completion of the update for every region (with the exception of the North).

“If you go to the Ministry of the Interior to check up you will find that no import license was issued for arms. I'm informed that a few licenses, a few, were issued for cartridges; ammunition, and that it was only last year that some work that was being done has completed and now the Ministry I think, is in a position to resume the issuing of import licenses for arms and ammunition, and in this case we are only referring to shotguns.”

He assured that there were stringent monitoring mechanisms for legally imported arms and ammunition and there was no way they could go missing in large quantities, “No way!”

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