Two persons who allegedly managed to take delivery of about 296 bags of cocoa beans worth over GHâ‚µ100,000 and sent them into a private warehouse at Apowa, near Takoradi in the Western Region, have been busted.
The two were arrested by the security operatives of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) after they had allegedly conveyed the bags into a warehouse belonging to a local cocoa processing company called Real Product.
The suspects, Paa Kwesi Nkruma – the warehouse keeper – and Henry Kwofie, who is in-charge of shipment at the local cocoa processing company, are currently in police custody assisting in investigations.
Major Michael Adjei (rtd), head of security and intelligence at the Western, South and Port Operations of Ghana Cocoa Board, confirmed the arrest at a press conference on Wednesday.
He indicated that the local cocoa processing company was indebted to COCOBOD in millions of Ghana Cedis, and that COCOBOD had stopped supplying it with cocoa beans.
Major Adjei pointed out that COCOBOD had been recording cases of theft at its Takoradi Takeover Centres in recent times.
He said that the Takoradi Centres comprised Kejebil Warehouse Complex near Mpohor and Cocoa Commodity Village at Apowa – all in the Ahanta West District.
He explained that the two centres mostly take delivery of cocoa beans from the hinterlands for fumigation, assessment and reconditioning before exporting them.
‘As a result of the thefts, the security operatives of the company intensified surveillance at the two warehouses. The measures instituted paid off when we received a tip-off on Tuesday, August 4, that a truck conveying 19 bags of cocoa beans had diverted the goods to a private warehouse at Apowa,’ he added.
He mentioned that when COCOBOD’s security personnel went to the place, they found Kwofie and Nkrumah there and upon interrogation, they said the warehouse belonged to one white man and that it had stopped receiving cocoa for the past two years.
‘The COCOBOD security personnel demanded to inspect the facility but Kwofie and Nkrumah were reluctant to open it therefore the security persons threatened to forcefully open it themselves,’ he revealed.
Major Adjei indicated that the suspects opened the warehouse and on entering, they discovered 296 bags of cocoa beans without seals, station bag numbers and ungraded, as well as some fictitious waybills and waste cocoa products.
He pointed out that the police at Kwesimintsim, near Takoradi, were immediately alerted and the suspects were subsequently arrested.
‘The cocoa beans found at the facility were seized and evacuated to COCOBOD’s warehouse at Kejebil for further assessment and reconditioning by the Quality Control Unit before shipment to abroad,’ Major Adjei disclosed.
Meanwhile, the police had mounted a search for Anthony Apesu, the driver of the truck with registration number GT 1112 B that diverted 19 bags of cocoa beans to the place.
By Daily Guide