20 January 2014

Ghana: National Security Denies Gold Exportation Story

National Security Council investigations revealed that no gold left the shores of Ghana as purported in a section of the media in December 2012.

Mr Marcus Awelinga of the National Security Council told a news conference in Accra that there were speculations that an aircraft carrying 1.5 tonnes of gold was detained in Turkey, due to the crew's inability to produce valid document on the cargo.

He said the aircraft originated from Kotoka International Airport (KIA) at 22:20 GMT hours on December 31, 2012, with what was believed to be gold bars on board.

Mr. Awelinga said the aircraft arrived in Ghana at 12:35 GMT hours on December 29, 2012, from Tripoli, with the declared purpose of picking up gold bars.

He said findings from the investigations revealed that the aircraft (Airbus-300-B4F) was a ULS airline cargo plane with registration number TCABK and not a Turkish cargo aircraft as earlier publicised.

Mr. Awelinga said the supposed gold was supplied by Omanye Gold Mining Limited (OGML).

He said, according to Isaac Anakwa Asante, Head of Operations of Aviation Handling Services, the company which handled the aircraft at KIA, when he boarded the aircraft to receive the crew, sighted only empty pallets on board.

He said further investigations gathered at the Registrar General's Department (RGD) revealed that OGML is a registered entity with registration number CA-98,960 incorporated on December 9, 2011, and commenced business on December 22, 2011.

Mr. Awelinga said OGML is operating from a house at Tantra Hill in Achimota, a suburb of Accra, without visible signs of a corporate entity, as stipulated by the Companies Act, 1963 (Act 179).

He said records at the RGD listed the directors of OGML as Frederick Kojo Essumang and Peter Kofi Bedzra, authorised to operate as mining and dealing in export of precious minerals.

Mr. Awelinga said on December 31, 2012, during the pre-departure formalities, Mr Asante claimed that 15 boxes, all similar in size to an A4 sheet box containing gold bars were opened for inspection in the presence of personnel of the Ghana Revenue Authority, the National Security Council Secretariat whose names he did not know.

He said the cargo got to the scanner which is operated by NICK TC SCAN Limited at 1841 hours of December 31, 2012 and was scanned at 1845 hours as was recorded on the console worksheet with serial number of 29.

Mr. Awelinga said the Akosua Soma Adom, Manager of the Scanner said the result of the analysis was 'normal' because the result of the analysis of the image was in tune with the description of the cargo as stated on the instructions for Despatch of Goods (IDG) form.

He said on the IDG form, the description of the cargo was 'mineral samples' and the weight of 1.500 kg/1.5 tonnes.

Mr. Awelinga said Mr. Bedzra, now deceased, Director of OMGL, who was spoken to, admitted that they supplied gold bars, which were loaded from the KIA.

He said checks traced the consignment to the Aviance Cargo Section where it had been returned to sender from Dubai, found to be specially sealed by Emirates Industrial Laboratory, the company that conducted the testing.

Mr. Awelinga said accompanying documents indicated that the 30 boxes of what was believed to be gold rather comprised of zinc - 0.468 per cent, tin - 1.24 per cent, lead - 0.310 per cent, iron - 0.326 per cent, silicon - 0.101 per cent, copper - 0.644 per cent, aluminium - 0.031 per cent, gold - 0.25 per cent and nickel - 96.13.

Mr. John Agyei Duodu, Director at the Geological Survey Department said his outfit only carried out laboratory analysis on mineral samples and not on gold bars.

He said the department only received a "request for approval" from OMGL "to export mineral samples to Mr. Vahid Moradi Moghddam to Swift Investment and Development Co. Ltd DMCC Branch, Transguard Code DSS 898 Suite 910 Business Ave BLD, (ETIHAD) Road, Deira-Dubai-UAE".


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