A joint team from the Counter-Terrorism Unit of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Special Services Unit of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD ) has impounded 15 trucks loaded with alleged smuggled fertiliser.
The team also discovered a warehouse and a factory, Fertagro Ghana Limited, where the smuggled fertilisers were being repackaged.
The cocoa fertilisers are meant for beneficiaries of Ghana Cocoa Board’s free fertiliser programme.
Workers were seen repackaging the fertiliser into foreign sacks suspected to be for export.
One who was arrested during the operation and said to be the owner of the company refuted the allegations of smuggling, saying he has licence from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
The director of special services at Ghana Cocoa Board, Charles Amenyaglo, said he will be surprised if the owner indeed had permit from the Ministry.
He said they had intelligence about the activities of the company, leading to the swoop.
“Today is the first time we have on this scale and it is clear evidence of what we have been suspecting all this while.”
COCOBOD last month warned of diversion of fertilisers meant for cocoa farmers through various farmer Cooperatives/Groups and Associations.
A statement issued by COCOBOD on Thursday(18 August) called on the security agencies to be on the alert and intercept such fertilisers.
“It has come to the attention of Management of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) that cocoa fertilizers supplied to cocoa farmers through various farmer Cooperatives/Groups and Associations for application on farms are being diverted and sold by unscrupulous persons.
“We wish to inform the general public that the cocoa fertilizers have been heavily subsidized by the government to ensure accessibility and affordability to all cocoa farmers to increase farm yields and any attempt to resell them amounts to diversion which is an offence.”
“COCOBOD will, therefore, like to use this medium to caution all persons involved in this illegal act to desist from the practice or risk facing the full rigours of the law, which will include arrest and prosecution. We also wish to caution cocoa farmers who are conniving with such miscreants in the diversion of the subsidized fertilizers to refrain from it immediately or face the consequences of their actions,” the COCOBOD statement said.
“We are, by this release, urging all security agencies to be vigilant and intercept suspected cocoa fertilizers, chemicals, and other inputs in the possession of persons without the required documentations covering the movement of such items for further investigations.”
“We also wish to encourage the general public to report all suspected cases to the Ghana Police Service for the necessary action,” it added.
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Source: Asaase Radio
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