The Hamile Sector Command of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) in the Sissala West District of the Upper West Region has impounded 1,950 bags of NPK fertiliser meant for the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJs) programme, being smuggled to neighbouring Burkina Faso.
The bags of fertiliser were loaded into a KIA Rhino with registration number AS 4706-17 driven Mr Salifu Bala and a Hyundai Mighty with registration number As-6147-15 whose driver was Razak Rahim.
Narrating the incident to the Ghanaian Times at Wa on Monday, the Hamile Sector Commander of the GIS, Felix Agyeman Bosompem, said he was on patrols duties with five other officers from his outfit when they had information that certain men were loading fertiliser into trucks around 1am of August 1, 2019, close to the border.
“Normally when people load fertiliser around that time, it becomes very suspicious, so I mobilised the men and we drove to an unapproved route at the border which was normally used by smugglers, but there was no indication that they had crossed, so we drove back towards Gwollu,” he said.
He said that on their way to Gwollu, their flashlights chanced on some reflectors and it happened to be those of the suspected smugglers, adding that, “It was around 1:40am and they were more than 10 men so we called for military support.”
He said the owner had bolted when they approached the scene and the other men at the scene tried to bargain with the officers in order to let them off the hook by offering money ranging between GHȼ3,000 and GHȼ15,000.
He said they rejected the sum and arrested the people together with the trucks, adding that, “I actually went into the negotiation because I needed to buy time before the military officers came, and because they were more than us and the area was not within Hamile.”
The Sector Commander said the trucks were handed over to the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Service at Wa on Friday, on the directions of the Regional Minister, Dr Hafiz Bin Salih.
Mr Bosompem said the area was being patrolled by immigration officers frequently in order to halt the practice of smuggling fertiliser into neighbouring Burkina.
He said his outfit was ready to utilise the limited resources at its disposal for the general good of the country.
FROM LYDIA DARLIGTON FORDJOUR, WA