Alleged missing cocaine may have been swept away - GRA representative

The Sector Commander of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) Customs Division, Majeed Amandi is of the view that the 100.1 grams of suspected cocaine that mysteriously went missing may have been stolen by officials of the Narcotics Control Commission (NACOC) or swept away.

The Director-General of NACOC, Francis Torkornoo had earlier indicated Customs officers had refused to allow the transportation of the substance which was concealed in a vehicle impounded by NACOC, to Accra.

"When they dropped the fuel tank, there was this false compartment under the vehicle containing various parcels and an amount of $200,000. After the inventory, as expected, NACOC wanted to the bring the vehicle to Accra for investigations to start, but the Customs officers refused, saying that they need to hear from their superiors from Accra," he said.

Mr Amandi, however, dismissed this explanation in a statement, intimating that, it was intended to discount the Custom officers' handling of the intercepted substance.

"It is my humble conclusion that there was a well-orchestrated plan intended to discredit the handling of intercepted narcotics by Customs. And further that NACOC officers have harboured a clear vendetta against Customs for numerous times that Customs have intercepted narcotic substances."

"In view of the small size of the particular parcel concerned, i.e 100g whitish substance, it is my observation also that possibly the parcel could have dropped in the midst of the disorderliness of examination process at the conference room and was swept away together with the rubbish unnoticed or even pilfered by any of the NACOC officers who handled the substances during examination for their diabolical intentions."

He expressed his dissatisfaction with attempts by NACOC to sabotage Customs officers.

"From the attitude of the NACOC officers before, during and after a physical examination of the intercepted cargo, it was clear also that, the sabotage of our operations cannot be ruled out. And also that misinformation, as well as a deliberate attempt to incriminate officers at the least opportunity, may not be ruled out."

Francis Torkono had earlier also expressed similar sentiments.

He said although NACOB maintains a friendly relationship with the Customs Division of the GRA, it has not been enthused about some incidents that have happened in the recent past.

He cited an incident where NACOC had seized some suspected banned substance and due to some actions by Customs including announcing in the media that it was them who seized the items and that it was cocaine, NACOC was unable to arrest some suspects who were behind the transportation of the banned substance.

He said his outfit has since written to the Commissioner of Customs to request the transfer of the vehicle to NACOB to allow them to conduct investigations.

"As of now, we have not received any of the parcels to perform a close test to know that really the content has narcotic substances. And also if the items are handed to us, we will start our investigations…Nothing has been given to us so we have formally written to the Commission of Customers to transfer the vehicle and all the contents to the Narcotics Control Commission. Hitherto, it was something we said they should keep, but they arrogated it to themselves to say that they need clearance before they will take it to their Headquarters before giving to us and it is something that is bizarre."