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21.04.2008 Business & Finance

‘Involve Security Agencies In Pre-Shipment Inspection’

By Kwadwo B. Donkor - newtimesonline.com

Freight forwarders at the Kotoka International Airport have appealed to the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), and other security agencies to be involved in pre-shipment inspection of goods.

They said the joint examination of the consignments in the presence of the exporters would reduce the incidence of clearing agents getting arrested for narcotic drug trafficking.

The clearing agents made the appeal at a stakeholders' forum which was facilitated by the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), at the airport.

They complained that whenever contraband goods were found concealed in export goods, clearing agents were the first to be picked up instead of the exporters, saying that in most cases, the clearing agents knew nothing about the concealed goods.

In addition to the joint examination, they suggested that a scanner be installed at the Cargo Village at the airport to help in the detention of illegal consignments.

They also complained about the delay in clearing their goods at the ports, which leads to increases in their operational cost, and called on Aviance, managers of the Cargo Village, to install state-of-the-art equipment that would enable them to clear their goods on time.

The Commissioner of CEPS, Emmanuel N. Doku, entreated the agents to educate exporters on the dangers of smuggling narcotic drugs in their consignments.

He agreed to the suggestion for a joint examination by all the security agencies in the pre-shipment examination.

He announced the creation of the Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) of CEPS which is modeled on the United States system and encouraged the agents to report any officer who misconducts him or herself in the line of duty.

“All complaints lodged at the IAU will be meticulously investigated and appropriate action taken,” he assured the agents.

He stressed on the need for constant inter-agency consultation and coordination in order to keep them abreast with the changes taking place and respond to them appropriately.

Mr Alex Yeboah, in-charge of Security and Monitoring at Aviance, explained that the company was in the process of acquiring 40 new close circuit television cameras to boost security at the village.

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