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29.11.2005 Crime & Punishment

Customs arrests another batch of smuggled goods

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Dabala (V/R), Nov. 29, GNA - Officials of Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) have intercepted an articulated truck loaded with bags of cement but concealed with 1,066 pieces of real wax prints and 32 dozens of under-wear smuggled from the Republic of Togo. The total revenue value of the items is 97.2 million cedis with penalty value of 388.9 million cedis, CEPS officials say. The truck was heading to Accra from Aflao when it was intercepted by the Customs.

The latest seizure adds to 18,897 pieces of wax prints with an estimated revenue value of 9.2 billion cedis intercepted within the Aflao sector since July, this year when the ban on overland importation of wax prints took effect.

Kofi Attah, 40, driver of the truck, which is the third vehicle to be intercepted at the checkpoint with wax prints concealed among bags of cement, is in custody assisting in investigations. No one has yet claimed ownership of the items but Attah said he knows the owner.

Briefing the GNA on the events at the checkpoint on Monday, Mr Ben Suuri, Chief Collector in charge of the Aflao post, said the items were retrieved following a tip off and a vigorous check on the truck with registration No AS 2082 U.

He said though public co-operation in exposing smugglers had been on the increase, some of the hints were rather calculated by the network of smugglers to divert the focus of the CEPS patrol team from the actual direction of which the goods were moving. Mr Suuri said the illegal traders were employing very sophisticated tricks including the concealment of goods in bags of food and fish, adding that the long stretch of the Volta river between Ada, Adidome and beyond, were also being used by the smugglers.

According to him the sector would soon take possession of a speedboat for anti-smuggling patrol on that section of the lake. A total of 50 illegal routes and several other by-passes have also been identified along the Ghana-Togo border, as well as within Ketu, Akatsi, Dangbe East, South and North Tongu Districts being in use by the smugglers to their final destinations.

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