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13.04.2010 Editorial

No! Interdiction is not enough

No! Interdiction is not enough
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Over the weekend, almost all the television stations in Ghana showed the documentary of investigations conducted by ace investigative reporter, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, on malfeasance in the cocoa industry along the country's borders.

The TV documentary brought to the fore, the rot in the cocoa industry by the smuggling business being perpetrated by the security agencies and their civilian collaborators in the Western Region.

President Mills, who had the opportunity of watching the clip earlier, severely criticised the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) during his visit to their headquarters recently, for supporting civilians to embark on smuggling at the expense of the state.

The Presidential reaction compelled CEPS to interdict the officers who were involved in aiding and abetting in the smuggling.

So far, no word has come from Col. Gbevlo Lartey's, whose National Security outfit was also involved in the nation wrecking exercise, and neither has the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Paul Tawiah Quaye, and his immigration counterpart, come out to state the action they have taken against their men caught in the TV documentary.

As we wait for official statements from the respective heads of the security institutions, we find it rather repugnant that the Commissioner of CEPS has only interdicted the officers involved, instead of stiffer punishment.

In the first place, these security men have engaged themselves in a treasonable offence, with the clearest evidence of been caught live on camera, as a result of which they should have rather been arrested or detained to face prosecution.

In addition, their assets and bank accounts should have been frozen. But, unfortunately, none of these have been done, save a mere interdiction by the CEPS Commissioner, with no action from the other security agencies whose men and women were also involved.

Clearly, these accused security men can easily escape justice by running away to avoid possible prosecution, especially now that their nefarious activities have been exposed to the entire population of the country.

Cocoa is the backbone of Ghana's economy, and if security personnel, who are supposed to ensure that this precious commodity is secured and protected, are themselves aiding people, including foreign nationals, to smuggle the crop, then the country indeed faces a bleak future.

The Chronicle is, therefore, asking the Atta Mills government to order the immediate arrest of all the security men involved, and kept in protective custody.

The Chronicle is raising this point because if these security personnel did not see anything wrong in aiding and abetting in such a heinous economic crime, then they would not hesitate to compromise on the security of the nation, by accepting money from mercenaries to enter the country with ammunitions to destabilize the government.

We believe that what has been exposed was just a tip of the iceberg, so the government must wake up before some of our security persons hand us over to our enemies.

We contend that if similar investigations were conducted at the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), the security men behind the smuggling of premix fuel as petrol to fuel stations would have been exposed by now.

The Chronicle is also cautioning the government not to think that because these security men have been exposed, the smuggling of cocoa would cease. Surely, this is not going to happen, because the nation wreckers in this business are just going to relax their activities for sometime, and then devise new strategies to carry on with the operation.

If the advanced countries of America or in Europe, where most Ghanaians are struggling to go for greener pastures, had also resorted to this economic sabotage, would they have reached the pedestal of envy they are today? For now, we say kudos to all those who helped to expose these criminals.

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