Banks in Ghana have procured 60 armoured bullion vans to ensure safe carting of money and the protection of lives, Mr John Awuah, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Association of Bankers, has said.
He said the special-purpose vehicles with siren, tracking devices, bullet resistant glass and other protective features were procured between January and June this year.
This comes at the back of attacks on bullion vans between 2018 and 2021, leading to the loss of three lives and robbers bolting away with at least GHS1,050,000, while other victims sustained injuries.
“We have taken delivery of more than 60 armoured bullion vans as of June this year,” Mr Awuah told the Ghana News Agency, adding that a lot more of such security vehicles would be in the country by December.
Mr Awuah said the Banks, together with the Ghana Police Service had also procured some armoured vests and ballistic helmets to ensure that officers who went on escort duties were fully armed in the required regalia.
He said: “The security of cash movement and escort officers is a critical component of the business of banking. More so, despite the transition to digital financial services, the volume of cash transactions is extremely high. In that regard, the safety and security of cash is of prime importance to the industry.”
“So, in the period where we recorded these unfortunate incidences, we commiserated with the people who were affected and worked actively with the Ghana Police to restrategise on how to safely move cash from one point to another.
“The Central Bank also stepped in to provide some temporary accommodation for the Banks, where they used the armoured bullion vans of the Bank of Ghana for major cash movement.”
He noted that the fizzling out of soft body vehicles with armoured vehicles had been a little slow because the procurement process of such highly security sensitive vehicles “is a painful process.”
Mr Awuah said: “We’re a region of Africa, which is quite unstable, therefore, the Police and National Security are interested in who is using the van, for what purpose, and there must be a contract.”
On the issue of Military Officers escorting cash-in-transit vehicles, the CEO explained that it became necessary to boost security and prevent the recurrence of attacks, therefore, some Banks made such arrangements.
He said: “At the height of the attacks, we wanted to have more boots on the grounds and at the time the Police were also undertaking some internal exercises for promotion, which limited the number of Police people that were available.”
Ghana recorded bullion van attacks since 2018, and in two of the cases, the police officers escorting the van lost their lives, while in another incident, a 35-year-old lady was killed.