From the Food and Drugs Authority and Tobinco impasse, it looks like we?re going to have ourselves another ?fight?, this time between National Security and the Customs, Excise and Prevention Service (CEPS).
The National Security outfit is set to delve into how customs officers at Elubo in the Western Region allowed an alleged rice smuggler to bring into Ghana 12 articulated trucks and two cargo trucks of ?Uncle Sam? rice.
With the fiat, rice could only be imported through the Tema port, Takoradi Harbour and the Kotoka International Airport (KIA). Importing the staple food through any other place is therefore illegal.
It is widely believed that the smuggler, Hayssam Haroun of Kaprace Limited, has colluded with the Elubo Custom officers to backdate the period the rice was imported from the Ivory Coast.
At the time of going to press, four of the 12 trucks had been released by the Customs at Elubo and were on their way to Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional capital. The smuggled rice is for Kumasi, Sunyani and Accra markets.
A highly placed security source gave some of the numbers of the articulated trucks as CR 1012 09, WR 1433 X, AS 7007 V, all from Ghana. The rest were 129 E1601, 1567 FC 01, 3432 EN, 0411 LL 7540, 4806 EE 01, 11 NN 2992, all from Ivory Coast.
The security source told The Enquirer that the smuggler went to the extent of under-declaring the alleged smuggled goods. It is widely suspected that the trucks would be coming from Elubo in batches of four.
There has been a huge brouhaha about how certain importers of rice were smuggling the product through land borders and paying little duty. It was alleged that the importers even colluded with Customs officials to under declare their consignment.
The government, therefore, thought it wise to place a fiat on importation of rice through land borders to maximize revenue.