By Maxwell Ofori
The Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has revealed that the erstwhile John Mahama administration, two-days before leaving office, signed the permit for the importation of the arms, which was cleared at the Tema Port recently.
According to the Minister: “After the election of 2016, two days to the handing over, on the 5th of January,2017, at a time of the transition, this permit was issued on the blind side of everyone.”
The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) at the Tema Port impounded a container containing guns, imported from the United States.
A private company, M/s Yadco Ghana Limited, imported the guns into the country and declared them as hunting guns.
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) raised the alarm that the Akufo-Addo administration had authourised the importation of the weapons, at a time the country was grappling with the threat of terrorism.
The NDC, in a statement signed by its Director of Communications, said it was alarmed by the government’s decision to authourise such [an] importation with the threat of terrorism on our northern frontier, pervasive vigilantism and unmitigated armed robberies across the length and breadth of our country.
However, responding to the issue, the Information Minister told journalists yesterday, that there was a letter showing that the NDC ordered the importation of the guns, which was signed by James Agalga, then Minister for the Interior.
The said letter, sighted by The Chronicle, was addressed to the Director General/CID, Ghana Police Service, Headquarters, Accra.
It sought for a permit for the company, M/s Yadco, to import “20,000 cases of 500 pieces of shotgun cartridges, four thousand (4,000) pieces of hunting shotguns, and 500 boxes of percussion caps.”
They were for the use of clients who were all engaged in the mining and quarry sectors, the letter explained.
Meanwhile, the Information Minister explained that when the consignment arrived, it was duly inspected, in accordance with standard practice, and has been stored in a designated storage area.
“The state security agencies are ensuring that the consignment does not get into the hands of unauthorised persons,” he added.