A crack team of ITF National Security Unit operatives arrested a prominent gold dealer and his accomplices, accused of being part of a gold smuggling syndicate trafficking Ghana ‘s precious mineral wealth on the blind side of the state outside the country in order to evade taxes.
The main suspect, Benjamin Abeiku Quansah, a gold dealer based in Tarkwa and Accra, with about four accomplices, was picked up at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) in Accra on Friday, October 9, 2020, while allegedly smuggling large quantities of gold bars out of the country.
The Herald ‘s airport sources witnessing the arrest said Mr. Abeiku Quansah was picked up on Friday morning while commuting on an Emirates flight number EK 788 in the company of Daniel Tetteh, one of his accomplices by name.
The names of other accomplices were given as: Ebenezer Addo, a clearing agent, and a certain Mavis Adomako, an Aviation Ghana Ltd. worker.
It is uncertain which country the gold, weighing 14.4 kg with an approximate street value of about $1 million, was being transported to, but many believe the ultimate destination was Dubai in the UAE.
Mr. Abeiku Quansah reported that the Herald ‘s independent checks on the key suspect are well-known in the gold sector and he owns two companies in the industry. Their names were given as Karl’s Group and AGB Company Limited.
The four suspects are all Ghanaian citizens, according to reports, and are currently in the custody of the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) in Accra, assisting with further investigations.
How the gang managed to outwit safety arrangements at the airport, which are supposed to be stringent, is uncertain.
It’s still uncertain whether any conspirators would be rounded up by National Security.
This is the second time that the ITF Unit of National Security has rounded up a gold smuggling syndicate in three weeks.
The first arrest was made in the border town of Aflao in the Volta Region, as reported by The Herald.
Via the Aflao border, they sent large quantities of gold bars out of Ghana, in what appeared to be a long-running illegal business that denies the state the requisite income.
In cooperation with their Indian financiers, the cartel, including Ghanaians and foreigners from neighbouring countries, has been behind the smuggling of the precious mineral resources of Ghana in enormous quantities using Togo.
The Herald ‘s information is that in their illegal sector, they have some political and security backing, causing Ghana to lose millions of US dollars by means of revenue.
But luck eluded some of them on that fateful Wednesday, when the ITF National Security Unit raided the Aflao on a tipoff and arrested them, while smuggling another 15 kilogrammes of gold out of the country in the act.
They said they were Malian citizens, numbering about four, but living in Aflao. They said that a certain Alhaji Braima, who lives in Accra, was smuggling gold.
The specifics, as well as the suspects’ identities, are sketchy. But Mohammed Jaggar, Abdul Samad, Abas Inusah, and one Musah, a Ghanaian and a driver, were given their names.
The Herald’s Aflao correspondent, who witnessed the arrest and seizure of gold believed to be in the GH 5 million area, reported that the suspects were sent for further investigations to Accra.