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General News
Bartels admits Ghana, transit point for drugs 1/27/2008
Kwamena Bartels, Interior Minister The Minister for the Interior, Mr. Kwamena Bartels, has admitted that Ghana’s entry points are gradually being used as transit points for drug trafficking, which is of great concern to the Government. He was, however, quick to add that the drug problem was a universal one, of which Ghana has not been left out in the global struggle against drug trafficking.

“The trend reflects a general upsurge of drug trafficking throughout the continent of Africa, in general, and West Africa, in particular,” he said in Parliament yesterday.

Bartels explained that drug traffickers and barons were increasingly using West African countries, along the Gulf of Guinea, for smuggling cocaine from Latin America into Europe, and at a lesser extent into North America, as evidenced by the record of seizures in the sub-region during the past years.”

He described as alarming, police officers involvement in the illicit trade when they were supposed to combat it.

“Drug barons all over the world, try to infiltrate the ranks of the security services that is mandated to combat drug-trafficking,” he noted, adding that “Over the past years, Ghana has experienced significant increases in drug trafficking.”

He emphasized that the government of Ghana, as a policy, has declared total war on drug trafficking, with the active collaboration of her development partners.

Mr. Bartels said measures designed by government to curb the involvement of some police personnel in drug trafficking, and the drug menace in the country, include a special financial package for personnel and other agencies handling the drug crisis.

He said the attractive financial incentives would dissuade police personnel from being compromised by drug barons.

“Also, government is instituting special awards or rewards for the police and other security personnel, who actively help arrest dealers in narcotic drugs,” he emphasized.

Typical examples are the two police officers who were handsomely rewarded for arresting two of their comrade police officers, who had accompanied some drug traffickers from the Western Region,” he told Parliament.

Bartels also revealed that the Police Service had, again, embarked on a house-cleaning exercise to rid the Service off the few bad nuts, allegedly engaged in drug trafficking.

He stressed that punitive departmental sanctions are taken to dismiss, or remove from the service and prosecute any police personnel found guilty of these offences.

Kwamena Bartels maintained that the Service had also instituted comprehensive background checks and vetting processes, to ensure that individuals, who are recruited into the Service, are not of questionable character.

“Various local and international workshops on strategy, to enhance the capabilities of the police to fight drug trafficking, are being organized.”

The Minister again mentioned that in order to build the capacity of narcotics drug enforcement in the country, the Narcotics Control Board was collaborating with Her Majesty Revenue Customs (HMRC) to undertake on-the-site training and exchange of expertise on airport interdictions (Operation Westbridge).

This collaboration, he said, has enabled the British officers and their Ghanaian counterparts to blend local profiling techniques, with intelligence from the UK, to apprehend drug couriers at the airport.

In addition, government is also reviewing the PNDC Law 236/1990, with the view to updating the drug schedules, and also incorporate the new international conventions on drug trafficking.

“A joint team of police personnel and NACOB officials is being established to handle the drug menace,” he said.

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