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23.09.2005 Business & Finance

Customs officials intercepts smuggled wax print, cigarettes

By GNA
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Asikuma (V/R), Sept. 23, GNA - Customs officers at the Asikuma checkpoint on Thursday intercepted a Mercedes bus with 61 full pieces of smuggled English wax prints stuffed in the vehicle's speaker boxes and the sides.

When confronted the driver, Mr Anthony Zameti, 24, attempted to bribe the officers with 700,000 cedis, which was turned down. Mr David Ahiador, Junior Collection Officer, told Journalists that the bus, owned by a Ho-based Second Division team and bearing registration number GT 6305 P, pulled up at the checkpoint on the Ho-Accra trunk road at about 1600 hours.

He said distorted quality of sound coming out from the vehicle's audio system alerted the officers whose suspicion was further heightened when they sighted what looked like a black polythene bag jutting out of a speaker cavity.

Mr Ahiador said the officers forced opened the speaker compartments and discovered some wax prints.

He said a painstaking search revealed more prints in black polythene bags stuffed in the ceiling and sides of the bus. When confronted, the driver said the goods belonged to two women whose names he could not tell.

While Journalists were being briefed, three other women travelling in an Opel Vectra saloon car with registration number GW99 P, were arrested with 18 pieces of smuggled English wax. They gave their names as Elizabeth Amoatemang, Margaret Asumati and Dedey.

John Quarshie, who was driving said he started the journey with the women from Aflao, through Ho on his way to Accra. Mr. Fredua Agyeman-Boakye, Assistant Commissioner of Customs in charge of the Ho Collection, urged other customs officers to emulate their colleagues at the Asikuma checkpoint. He said the directive of the Ministry of Trade that African prints could only be imported into the country through the Takoradi Port had led to an upsurge of smuggling of such products through the eastern frontier.

Mr. Agyeman-Boakye, however, warned smugglers that CEPS would counter the upsurge by staying ahead of their new tactics. He said his men at the checkpoint had earlier seized two big jerry cans loaded with foreign cigarettes. Mr Agyeman-Boakye said the jerry cans were cut at the bottom loaded and sealed. 23 Sept. 05

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