The National Anti-Cocoa Smuggling Task Force, a division of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), has intercepted a shipment of smuggled cocoa beans in Mpraeso, located in the Kwahu South Municipality of the Eastern Region.

The 130 bags of cocoa beans were smuggled through Suhum and intended for transport through Mpraeso to Afram Plains River in Kwahu Afram Plains South, with the ultimate destination being the Volta Region and then Togo.

A team of National Security Personnel in the Eastern Region received a tip-off during their routine surveillance within the Kwahu block, leading to the apprehension of the smugglers.

The suspects, identified as Kwasi Edem, 55 years old, and Dennis Hodo, a 28-year-old tipper truck driver, are currently in police custody at the Mpraeso Central Police station, assisting with investigations.

The smugglers concealed the 130 bags of cocoa beans in the tipper truck, covering the surface with chippings in an attempt to deceive security agencies.

Their aim was to take advantage of the higher cocoa prices in Togo, a non-cocoa-producing country, compared to Ghana. With cocoa prices at Gh2,070, the smugglers could have potentially made Gh269,100 in a single day.

Emmanuel Atta Ofori-Snr, the Municipal Chief Executive for Kwahu South, stated in an interview with the media that the ongoing operation, initiated two years ago, has resulted in the apprehension of smugglers attempting to transport Ghanaian resources to Togo.

He emphasized that his district will not tolerate being used as an exit point for smuggling Ghanaian natural resources, particularly cocoa, to neighboring countries.

The Municipal Chief Executive called on other Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) to enhance security in their respective districts and borders to prevent the smuggling of Ghanaian natural resources, particularly cocoa, and safeguard the country’s interests.

Credit: Afia Agyeimaa