The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Patrick Kwarteng Acheampong, has denied media reports that arms and ammunition imported into the country in 2004 could not be traced.
He said from 2001 to 2006, the Ministry of the Interior placed a ban on the importation of arms and ammunition and since the ban was lifted in 2006, no large quantities of arms had been imported into the country.
He said at the hearing of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament on Monday, the police were asked to provide the list of persons who had licences to import arms and ammunition into the country.
He said the Tuesday October 30, 2007 issue of the Daily Graphic sought to create panic among members of the public because of some distortions in its report on the matter.
The IGP was speaking at a press briefing in Accra yesterday to highlight what he described as distortions in sections of the media about the proceedings of the committee's sitting.
“This is a total lie, it was not good to create panic in the public. There was nothing in the document that suggested that ammunitions imported into the country could not be traced.
The committee asked for the updating of revenue register for arms and ammunition,” he stressed.
According to the IGP, initially, there were 300 companies with licences to import arms and ammunition and stressed that the licences were for the importation of shotguns and cartridges and not AK 47 or any other weapons.
He said though the people had licences, when it came to paying of fees, they could not be traced, so the Ministry of Interior decided to review the whole system by placing a ban on importation of arms and ammunition from 2001 to 2006.
He said whenever the arms arrived in the country, there were the Customs, BNI and other security agencies at the various ports who monitored them till they got to their destinations.
The IGP said the registers for arms and ammunition and magazine dealers maintained at the CID headquarters had not been updated with returns from the regions because when the magazine dealers licence fees were adjusted upwards in 2002 as per the Amendment Act, 2001, most of the dealers folded up.
Mr Acheampong said it further indicated in a reply to their report that it had asked the Vocational Licensing Authority to compile the list of the active magazine dealers throughout the country and that when the exercise was completed, the list would be forwarded to the police for verification, adding that the exercise had not been completed.
He said currently there were 123 companies importing arms and ammunition into the country.
The IGP appealed to journalists who covered public hearings to always ask for explanations when they were not sure of something in order not to create a wrong impression.
We are sorry for our misrepresentation of the public hearing of the Auditor-General's Report at the Public Accounts Committee on Monday concerning the Ghana Police Service which was carried in yesterday's paper.
Story by Mary Mensah