The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority is on high alert over prohibited or restricted goods entering the country through Tema port.
Tasked with both security and revenue collection roles, Customs is not letting its guard down to ensure the country’s security is not compromised.
The paramilitary organization continues to uncover concealed items classified as restricted under Ghana Revenue Authority laws.
These laws frown on importation of arms, ammunition, certain chemicals, contaminated goods among other things.
Sector Commander of Tema Collection, Assistant Commissioner Julius Kantum, speaking at a recent visit by Commissioner of Customs, Col. Kwadwo Damoah (rtd) to the Tema port shared the need for extra vigilance.
“This is the place we need heightened vigilance in terms of function bothering on national security. Most of the restricted goods have been uncovered here at Golden Jubilee terminal.
“All officers when you’re working please ensure that you’re vigilant, examine properly so that anything that is restricted or prohibited does not enter the country,” he urged.
Over the last year, Customs on a number of occasionshas intercepted concealed weapons.
In October 2020, it intercepted 436 pistols, 26 packs of 50 pieces of ammunition and 1 (40ml) pepper spray on a container described as personal effects upon arrival at the Tema Port.
In June this year, Customs intercepted three rifles including a 10-millimetre Aero Survival Rifle, fitted with binoculars, an HK 416 semi-automatic rifle and a 4 x 32 premium scope crossbolts dead silent rifle concealed in a barrel.
In September 2021, Customs again uncovered nine side arms (pistols), eight assault rifles and 219 pieces of live ammunition.
Due to the above among others, personnel at Meridian Port Services (MPS) terminal have also been put on high alert.
To ensure that no restricted items get into the country, Head of MPS Scan, Chief Revenue Officer, Joyce Ama Akesseh, explained that, trucks with containers are scanned and integrity of the container with the necessary administration files are checked.
“If there are infractions, that particular consignment is labelled ‘Red’ meaning it is a high risk goods and has to go to the Intrusive examination bay for physical examination.
“If the consignment is marked ‘Yellow’, the container could be released to exit the port,” she said.
However, if the officers are not satisfied based on the information on their screens, the consignment could be coded ‘Red’ and sent for physical examination.
Any container labelled “Green” is good to leave the port.
The risk management system is a dynamic one which “allows you through your own conduct to be profiled as either Red, Yellow or Green’.”
For Commissioner of Customs, Colonel Kwadwo Damoah (rtd), mandate of Customs is premised on three pillars which include security, trade facilitation and revenue.
“Often times people assess our performance by only revenue. But you can be sure that it is only when you have a secured environment that you can have trade thriving and then revenue,” he explained.
He commended all personal, especially those at Golden Jubilee terminal who were directly involved in uncovering the weapons among other restricted goods.
He assured the public that Customs will continue to play its security and revenue collection roles effectively.
Colonel Kwadwo Damoah (rtd) touched on issues of promotion, welfare, logistics, fate of hardworking NABCO personnel among other issues that affect Customs and how present administration intends to address them.