Robbers engage in gun battle with cops in another bullion van attack
Armed robbers attacked a bullion van at Gomoa Okyereko on the Kasoa – Winneba road in the Central Region on Thursday, barely a week after a similar incident resulted in two deaths at Jamestown.
Reports indicate that the robbers fired several rounds in the direction of the front seat of the vehicle with registration number GN 6956-17.
The bullion van, which had a policeman as an escort, refused to stop.
The cop immediately called for backup as the bullets rained in his direction on the sunny afternoon.
A team from the Winneba Police Station was quickly dispatched to the scene but the robbers were not perturbed.
Rather, the six-man gang exchanged fire with the police for several minutes before they fled in the direction of a nearby bush.
No one was injured and the money in the bullion van remained intact.
But the victims of the Jamestown attack were not lucky.
The police officer Constable Emmanuel Osei and a 35-year-old ladyJoyce Amankwah were killed after eight robbers attacked a MON TRAN bullion van at Adedenkpo, a suburb of James Town in Accra.
There have been several bullion van attacks in the past without any action to address the crime.
This time the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr James Oppong-Boanuh, has given financial institutions a June 30 ultimatum to acquire armoured vans or else he would not commit men for escorts.
The Ghana Association of Bankers (GAB) has assured the public that it would comply with the new Cash-in-Transit (CIT) operations requiring armoured vehicles.
This is to ensure the protection of banking staff, customers, service providers, including personnel of the Ghana Police Service, cash and other facilities of banks. tha association noted.
However, in a new development. a man believed to be the owner of a closed-circuit television (CCTV) device that captured the robbery on Monday, June 14, is unwilling to release it to police.
His actions have drawn appeals from the Minister for the Interior Ambrose Dery who wants the culprits arrested and prosecuted.
Meanwhile, Ghana’s bullion vans are not new to accidents.
March 29, 2012
There was a scramble as passers-by and second-hand phone dealers struggled for access to large sums of money that had dropped from a Toyota bullion van that had been involved in an accident at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra.
The speeding bullion van with registration number GW 1847 S and travelling from Accra New Town towards the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, collided with a VIP bus at an intersection near the Vodafone Head Office.
With the occupants of the vehicle trapped inside, the army of second-hand phone dealers and passers-by who rushed to the accident scene took to looting the wads of cash that spilled from the vehicle.
July 21, 2018
A police officer, who was guarding a bullion van reportedly shot and killed the bullion driver by accident at Odumase Krobo in the Eastern Region.
The bullion van driver reportedly met a rowdy funeral procession on the Odumase Krobo road.
The police officer, who was guarding the bullion van, in an attempt to restore order for the van to drive through the noisy funeral procession, fired warning shots, which bullet hit the driver.
October 4, 2019
One person was confirmed dead following a head-on collision between a Bank of Ghana bullion van and a fuel tanker at Techiman in the Bono East Region.
The collision also sent thousands of Ghana cedis notes flying into the sky and scattered on the road.
December 3, 2019
The deceased, Sergeant Emmanuel Chikudoh was part of a team escorting an ADB bullion van to Essam in the Western Region when the incident occurred.
October 7, 2020
On October 7, 2020, two people who connived to steal more than GH¢ 1 million they were transporting in a bullion van for a bank were sentenced to four years in prison.
A Cash in Transit (CIT) Officer, Bismark Abem, and a driver, Eric Larbi, were found guilty of two charges—conspiracy to commit crime and stealing.
What is the way forward?
Following these reoccurrences, a security analyst, Adam Bona, advised the Ghana Police Service and Governor of the Bank of Ghana to end the practice of using police officers to escort bullion vans.
“Why should police officers in the 21st century be escorting money? This was done in the 18th and 19th centuries. No serious country does that. You don’t use state resources to be transporting money.
“Technology has made it possible to use armoured-fit-for-purpose bullion vans and these bullion vans usually have what is called money shredders. And so if you attack a bullion van, that was in motion carrying money, what happens is that these bullion vans ignite a chemicalized component that spills over this money and a chunk of this money gets shredded,” he said.