The President of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Dr Joseph Obeng, has appealed to stakeholders to collaborate effectively with the Chamber of Automobile Dealership Ghana (CADEG) to establish criteria for identifying stolen cars.
That he said would help deal with issues including that of the December 9, 2022 where the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) in collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) raided a number of used auto dealerships (garages) and retrieved several imported luxury vehicles suspected to have been stolen from United States of America and Canada.
Dr Obeng was speaking at a stakeholders meeting organised by the CADEG in Accra last Friday.
The meeting was aimed at deliberating and finding ways of preventing innocent automobile dealers from incurring losses as a result of crime they may not be directly involved in.
“There is the need for state and non-state actors to collaborate effectively to be able to identify the various modus operandi of criminal operations and share it with governments all over the world.
“This will help them establish criteria for identifying stolen goods and intercept them at the country of origin and/or before it gets to the destination,” he stated.
Dr Obeng said information on these criteria should then be widely disseminated for people to know, detect and report any suspected case to security agencies including Interpol for the necessary action.
Mr George Dumenu, Executive Secretary, CADEG, reiterated that the stakeholder engagement had become imperative due to the December 9 incident as it had had grave consequences for the auto dealership in the country by creating a huge mistrust between purchasers of used vehicles.
He stressed that inspectorate agencies were required to verify all vehicles, their requisite documents, and approve same before they were allowed to pay import taxes to the state.
“It then comes as a surprise that these vehicles after going through all these checks are now tagged as ‘stolen vehicles’,” he added.
Mr Dumenu stated that the CADEG believed that majority of these cars were actually not stolen cars as it was being alleged as the checks and balances in these countries were so strict that an ordinary trader from Ghana does not have the sophistication needed to perpetrate such a crime easily.
He therefore called on stakeholders to use their offices to salvage the situation and urged authorities in the USA and Canada, to do proper due diligence before allowing shipment of used vehicles out of their jurisdiction.
BY ABIGAIL ARTHUR