A JOINT GHANAIAN police and Interpol operation dubbed 'Operation Atlantic' has led to the arrest of 16 persons for allegedly engaging in intellectual property offences, running into several thousands of Ghana Cedis, with four suspects currently on the run.
However, all the 16 suspects, according to the Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Prosper Kwame Agblor, have been granted police enquiry bail, explaining that the nature of the purported crime did not warrant their detention for more than the specified 48 hours.
A 40-footer container laden with fake Marlboro cigarettes, he told the media in Accra yesterday, was discovered at the Tema Port during the group's operation. 'If the importers had been successful, they would have made GH¢75,000,' he indicated.
In addition, twenty-eight half pieces, and nine full pieces of replica Ghana Textile Products (GTP) were seized in just three stalls within the 31st December Market in Accra. 1,060 compact discs and digital video discs (DVD) of pirated musical and artistic products were equally confiscated.
DCOP defined Intellectual Property as a number of distinct creations of the mind, where the owners or the originators are granted certain exclusive rights to their assets. These innovations include musical products, literary, artistic works, and discoveries among others.
Reports indicated that some of the seized textile products were made in China, but were marked with the trade name of Ghana Textile Products, and some with designs which GTP did not even produce.
DCOP Agblor cautioned the general public to be wary of innovators, organised groups and criminal gangs, who produce counterfeit products to the detriment of the originators.
He further mentioned that a chunk of Ghanaian songs had been copied illegally on to Chinese phones, popularly known in Ghana as China phones, and sold here in the country.
This piracy phenomenon, he added, had been extended to other technological industries, which manufacture printer cartridges, especially, the Hewlett Packard brand of cartridges, on the Ghanaian market.
'The issue of counterfeiting has become so pronounced that if nothing is done to fight it, the whole nation is going to be inundated by counterfeit and pirated products in the very near future. In other words, counterfeiting or piracy is not limited to only a few selected goods,' he stressed.
Although the Ghana Police Service is bent on flushing out miscreants in society, DCOP Agblor said they could not do it alone, calling on the good citizens of the country to assist them in this exercise.