A joint operation conducted by the Ghana Cocobod and police in the Eastern Region has resulted in the interception of a significant quantity of cocoa beans concealed in 35 oil drums.
The perpetrators attempted to outsmart security officials by hiding the cocoa beans in oil drums.
They disguised the drums as palm oil from the region known for palm oil production.
Following extensive intelligence and surveillance, the truck carrying the illicit cargo, with registration number ER 856-14, was intercepted at Asuokaw, a community near Asamankese.
Unfortunately, many of the suspects escaped upon seeing the operation team. However, David Nartey, who claimed to be the owner of the vehicle, was apprehended and is currently in police custody in Asamankese, assisting with the ongoing investigation.
During the operation, one of the drums was found to contain 144kg of cocoa beans, equivalent to two bags and 16kg. The confiscated cocoa beans have been transported to the headquarters of Cocobod in Accra.
Mr. Charles Amenyaglo, the Director of Special Services at Ghana Cocobod, expressed concern over the increasing trend of illicit cocoa smuggling in the Eastern Region and other parts of the country, particularly to neighbouring countries such as Togo and Cote D’Ivoire, driven by price differentials.
He revealed that Cocobod has recently recorded eight cases of cocoa smuggling in the region, with similar incidents occurring in Tepa, Elubo, Afloa, and Ho in the past few weeks, resulting in multiple arrests.
Mr. Amenyaglo urged the public to support Cocobod in its fight against cocoa smuggling by providing tips and information to the police, which will aid in clamping down on the perpetrators.
The concerted efforts of all stakeholders are crucial in safeguarding the cocoa industry and preserving Ghana’s reputation as a leading cocoa producer.