Cocoa Smugglers Nabbed At Adomi Bridge
SMUGGLING of cocoa has assumed an alarming proportion, no wonder some companies whose products are derived from cocoa have started complaining of shortage of cocoa beans in the country.
The smugglers are now using routes least suspected by the security agencies.
Police performing barrier duties on the Adomi Bridge at Atimpoku had within seven days last week intercepted 45 bags of cocoa being smuggled to Togo from Koforidua in the Eastern Region.
Information gathered by the Chronicle says that from July 5, this year, while on their routine vehicles search, police found parcels of cocoa beans hidden under the seats of passenger buses from Koforidua.
At one stage, a bus belonging to the Omnibus Services Authority (OSA) was found carrying the beans.
Six out of seven persons arrested were put before a circuit court at Krobo Odumase and fines totalling ¢32 million were slapped on them.
The six, who were fined ¢5 million each or five years' imprisonment in default, except one who had ¢6 million fine, have been sent to the Akuse Prison pending payments of the fines.
The last person arrested last Friday will be put before court today, while the Cocoa Marketing Company (CMC) was expected to go and take custody of the 45 bags.
Meanwhile information stumbled on by the Chronicle has it that a concession was made two years ago, for cocoa processing companies to import cocoa beans to beef up their operations.
The information has it that Ghana's cocoa has high premium and that it is uneconomical to process it without combining it with the inferior ones outside