National Security denies robbery report

The National Security Council (NSC), at weekend denied media reports that armed men dressed in military and police apparel, attacked customs officials in their bid to rob passengers at the Dawhenya customs checkpoint last week.

“Those reports are false and a calculated attempt to tarnish the image of the security personnel who were at the checkpoint carrying out their legitimate duties, “Major Ignatius Awuni, Operations Officer at the NSC told the Ghana News Agency in Accra.

“Those alleged armed robbers were a team of security personnel that were tasked to intercept unaccustomed goods along the Aflao-Accra road,” he explained.

Major Awuni revealed that the operations was based on intelligence received by the NSC that large quantities of unaccustomed goods were being smuggled from the Aflao Border into Accra.

He said the operation was carried out by a joint team comprising personnel of the Bureau of National Investigations, Ghana Police Service, Ghana Armed Forces and NSC.

The operation was launched at about 2300 hours on Friday, November 12, on the Aflao road- about 500 metres ahead of the check point.

Major Awuni said at midnight the team intercepted seven buses that had their registration numbers on the team’s intelligence list and escorted by security personnel to 0the Customs Bonded Warehouse at the Kotoka International Airport.

He said when the buses got to the Dawhenya checkpoint, the customs personnel on duty refused to allow the vehicles to proceed to Accra, after the security personnel on board had identified themselves and explained the rationale behind the operation.

At this point, the customs officers who were bent on thwarting the operations started deflating the tyres of the vehicles and removed the ignition keys, which resulted in a violent confrontation.

Major Awuni said that when the commander of the NSC team arrived at the scene to calm down the tempers, some CEPS personnel who had taken possession of the keys of two of the seven buses bolted into the bush making it impossible to move the vehicles to Accra.

He said even though the situation was brought under control with the assistance of one Mr Dan Kofi, a Principal Collector of CEPS, the team could not get access to the two buses as their colleagues refused to disclose the identity of those who bolted into the bush.

He said they however fulfilled their promised to get the buses to the Customs yard in Accra by the next day, however the officials who intercepted the vehicles could not verify whether the unaccustomed goods on board have been tampered with.

Major Awuni said no weapons were fired during the exercise and no passenger was molested as the media report claimed.

“It is never true that the security personnel were armed robbers who made market women to lie on their bellies and rolled on the ground.

“This is pure lies. The aim of the exercise was to widen our revenue net and nothing more,” he said.

Major Awuni said NSC is investigating the issue.

Source: GNA

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