Authorities in Ghana cautioned here on Friday they will deal ruthlessly with traffickers of wildlife who seek to use Ghana as a transit point.
Reacting to stories in international media about the seizure of 393.50 kg of pangolin scales in Malaysia in June 2017 and suspected to be from Ghana, Nana Kofia Adu-Nsiah, Executive Director of the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission, told the media that the authorities would not tolerate any person trying to use the country as transit point for wildlife trafficking.
“It is evidently clear that some of the wildlife traffickers are using Ghana as transit destination to operate their nefarious activities. We will like to send the message to them that they have no place in Ghana. We will smoke them out. We are going to intensify our collaboration with Customs, Police, NACOB, airport officials, informants and intelligence network to combat this crime,” he stressed.
According to Adu-Nsiah, investigations conducted by the Narcotic Controls Board (NACOB) had revealed that the pangolin scales were sent by an expatriate from Nigeria through Ghana with a number of Ghanaian conduits exporting them finally under the label of “Oyster Shells”.
“The increased demand for these weak creatures has seen an estimated one million pangolins removed from Asian and African forests over the past decade, bringing their numbers to critically low. Intelligence unit of the Narcotics Control Board also picked information and worked on it,” he added.
On Wednesday, according to Adu-Nsiah, the agent, whose name came during investigations as Prosper Kumako, was arrested and upon interrogation, he admitted having facilitated the exportation of the pangolin scales from Nigeria, through Ghana to Malaysia, adding that in all these exports, the consignment was named “Oyster shells”.
In all, three other accomplices were mentioned; two in Ghana and one expatriate living in Nigeria who is the original consignee who routed the items through the suspects now being interrogated by security officials in Ghana.
Ghana classified pangolins as one of its endangered species in the 1960s, and has been signatory to the CITES (Washington Convention) since March 1973. Enditem