Four Ghanaians with Malian origins, were yesterday dawn busted at the Aflao border in an attempt to smuggle gold to neighboring Togo.
The 15kg gold with an estimated street value of about $1million was being transported to Togo by road in an attempt to evade tax and also go through customs procedures.
The dawn operation, according to a source at Aflao, was undertaken by a crack unit at the National Security.
“They have been monitoring these people for sometime new and it seems modus operandi of this syndicate, is to use the beaches before getting to the Aflao. border”, the source said.
What is intriguing, according to the source is that ” land borders remain closed so why are people still able to move to and fro freely?.
Gold smuggling syndicates embark on such illicit operations in order to also avoid rapatriation of a percentage of proceeds of sales of gold abroad thereby denying the State billions of dollars annually.
The four suspects, yet to be named are said to be in the custody of the Bureau of National Investigations(BNI), to assist in investigations.
On July 14th, 2016, the Minerals Commission of Ghana issued a directive to govern the export of gold from Ghana by License Gold Exporters (LGE) other than holders of Mining Leases. These measures communicated by the Minerals Commission shall be in force until substituted by other procedures that may be prescribed in the future. They remain the only means to have a gold exported in Ghana by a licensed gold exporter (company).
These procedures include the following;
A Licensed Gold Exporter (LGE) who intends to export gold shall inform the Precious Minerals Marketing Company Limited (PMMC) in writing of its export plans at least two (2) working days before the planned weekly export.
The LGE shall submit the gold ore to be assayed by PMMC at a designated assay centre, together with all declaration documents, Packing List, and Invoice.
The PMMC shall determine the gold content of the gold ore presented by the LGE using the appropriate assay method as agreed by the LGEs, Minerals Commission, and the PMMC.
The PMMC shall prepare a report of analysis of the gold ore presented by the LGE and issue copies instantly to the Bank of Ghana (BOG), the Ghana Revenue Authority Custom Officer stationed at the Assay Centre and the Minerals Commission.
The PMMC shall invoice the LGE in respect of the assay at the agreed rate of 0.1% of the value of gold assayed, and the LGE shall pay the same to PMMC. The payment of this fee is without prejudice to any fee that may be charged by the Minerals Commission.
All Gold Buying Agents of the PMMC, before this publication, may continue to use their permits until the expiry of the present term of the license, and the PMMC shall not renew the same upon expiry. All such Gold Buying Agents should immediately contact the Minerals Commission for further directions regarding the use of their permits. All persons who desire to obtain licenses for buying gold shall apply to the Minerals Commission.
The GRA Customs Official at the Assay Centre shall inspect and supervise the sealing of the assayed gold ore with the Customs Division’s seal and endorse the Customs Declaration Form. The sealing of the assayed gold ore by the Customs Official shall be done in the presence of an authorized representative of the Assay Centre, who shall also affix the seal of the PMMC Assay Centre at the same time.
The LGE shall complete the required documentation at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) before exporting the assayed gold.
Under no condition shall gold ore be exported by LGE without the seals of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority and the Government designated laboratory, i.e., PMMC, and accompanied with full documentation.
All LGEs shall submit monthly returns to the Minerals Commission in accordance with the terms and conditions of their license agreements
In September 2017, it emerged that the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC), at the time, could not trace most of the companies involved in the export of $2.3 billion worth of gold in 2016.
The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service begun a probe into the matter which was said to involve about 145 companies.
The PMMC, which got its license revoked by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) in September, was mandated to oversee the export of gold from the small-scale mining sector.
The law requires at least 80 percent of foreign currency earned from exports to be repatriated into the country.