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14.03.2006 General News

368 drums of bitumen stolen

By Daily Graphic
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A consignment of 368 drums of bitumen imported by the Burkina Faso government through Ghana has been stolen along the route between Takoradi and Kumasi.

The two drivers in whose custody the consignment was, Osman Sulemana and Saddique Rahman have also bolted, but a 60 year old businessman Tahiru Mohammed, based in Kasoa and a driver's mate, Kofi Akoto have been arrested to assist in police investigations.

Police sources said upon his arrest, Tahiru confessed to having bought the 368 drums of bitumen at the price of ยข220,800,000.

The police say 176 drums of the bitumen were retrieved, while Tahiru has promised to refund the cost of the remaining drums.

An official of the Customs, Excise and Preventive Services (CEPS) who was to escort the goods to Paga has also been invited to the CID headquarters to assist in the investigations.

A source at the Criminal Police Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service told the Daily Graphic on Monday that some time in February this year, two trucks being driven by Sulemana and Rahman were loaded with the consignment to be taken to Bukina Faso through Paga for a project by the Burkinabe government.

It said Sulemana was driving a Volvo articulated truck with registration number GR 4264 U, while Rahman drove a DAF articulated truck with registration number AS 1694 Q.

It said after waiting for some days anticipating that the trucks would have reached Burkina Faso, the complainant called his counterpart in that country but he was told that the trucks had not arrived there.

The source said the complainant decided to follow up to find out whether the vehicles had broken down on the way or something might have happened to them.

It said on reaching Buoho near Kumasi the complainant saw Rahman's truck at a washing bay but with the registration number changed to GW 6433 W.

According to the source, the complainant walked to the truck and saw the driver's mate, Kofi Akoto, washing the truck.

It said Akoto led the complainant, in the company of two policemen to the driver's house.

The source said on seeing the complainant, Rahman took to his heels and just when Akoto also wanted to run, he was arrested by the policewomen.

The source said Akoto later led the police to Tahiru Mohammed at Kasoa who he claimed had bought the 368 drums of bitumen.