Whither Ghana Security – Should We Sleep At Night?
It is normal for citizens of sovereign countries to assume that certain aspects of their national security is a given. Given that assurance, they go to bed night in night out and sleep comfortably with both eyes closed.
However, two recent occurrences have served as a wakeup call to Ghanaians not to be over presumptuous about the security of our beloved Republic.
The first was the “spiriting” out of the country of 1.5 tons of gold bars valued at between $62 and $80 million. The Government of Ghana apparently knew nothing about it until the plane that ferried it from Kotoka International Airport was arrested in Turkey. The second was the 31 containers of scrap metal that disappeared while under Customs supervision at Tema.
The porosity of land borders is proverbial worldwide. Therefore, most breaches across them are not heart-stopping. But one can hardly say the same of security lapses at our airports and seaports. These are normally watertight in serious countries with serious security apparatuses.
When the gold story first broke, the government’s overriding concern was not the fact that such quantity of precious metal had left the country without its knowledge, but that it was not a party to the perceived illegal export.
As it turned out the government officials in charge of documentation in such matters believed what the private sector operators involved in the export told them that the papers they sought was for “gold samples”.
They were so gullible that they did not think it necessary to alert any aspect of national security to the possibility that such cover could be used to perpetrate fraud, which appears to be what happened. Where on earth do samples weigh 1.5 tons?
Right on the heels of this major breach of security at KIA, Customs officials at Tema Harbour impounded 31 container loads of scrap metals being exported in clear disregard of our laws.
The containers were then stored at the industrial area in Tema. Official red tape held sway for about three months before a decision could be taken as to what should be done with the seized scrap.
Wonder of wonders. Each of the 31 containers had mysteriously been cleaned of every bit of scrap metal, while the customs seals were still in place! Whodunit? Miscreants or Customs men? Or a combination of the two? Questions, questions, questions, but no answers.
None of these two instances amuses us. Actually, they are a cause for severe national apprehension, as to whether Ghanaians should close both eyes as we go to bed every night, especially with the Kotoka misadventure.
The Chronicle blames the leadership of national security for the apparent lack of consciousness on the part of the Survey officials that they need to alert the security top brass at the airports and seaports any time they do documentation for samples of precious metals.
Such consciousness is not expected of them; it should be inculcated in them by national security. The signatures of some civil servants, mostly poorly-paid, empower the transfer of millions, if not billions, of Cedis out of the country routinely.
National security should organise regular workshops for such civil servants and stressed to them the importance of their place in the national security network.
On the other hand The Chronicle wonders whether our national security could really be so incompetent that it could fail in such a basic duty as sensitising officials occupying sensitive positions.
But if national security is actually on top of its game and knew of the 1.5 ton gold samples, why did it look the other way and allow then through? Asem sebe.
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