A collaboration between the National Security Council (NSC), the Narcotics Control Commission, and freight forwarder, Global Cargo, and Commodities Ltd has led to the discovery of $10m worth of cocaine at the Tema port, private newspaper, Ghanaian Chronicle has reported.

What Happened?

According to the paper, Global Cargo and Commodities Ltd was assisted by both the NSC and NARCOC to clear a consignment of 50 containers of sugar from the Meridian Ports Services (MPS)-operated Terminal Three of the Tema Port.

The batch, according to the paper’s report, was part of a consignment of 300 containers of sugar shipped from Brazil to a consignee in Ghana.

On August 6, 2020, Mediterranean Shipping Company Ltd (MSC) vessel, MV MSC Monterey departed Santos, Brazil, with a number of boxes including the 50 containers which shipper happened to be Sao Paulo-based Usina Santa Isabel and consigned to Trade Pass Gh Ltd in Ghana.

On September 13, 2020, the ship docked at Terminal 3 of the Tema Port and before the Global Cargo and Commodities Ltd could commence the process for clearance, NSC officials were alerted of a tagged container, leading to surveillance being placed on the box.

The clearing agent, having gone through documentation, invited the two security bodies who escorted the 50 containers from the MPS terminal to a designated warehouse.

Personnel of NARCOC and NSC supervised the discharge of the sugar from the various containers on September 11 and 12 till the tagged container with number MSCU6889036 and security seal FJ08881031 were found.

The operatives, after finding the container, picked samples of six bags of the sugar for analysis after which some pellets suspected to be narcotics were found.

All these while, the security agencies had the full collaboration of the agent, Global Cargo and Commodities Ltd to get to the source of the narcotics.

The seller of the 300 20-foot containers of sugar has been identified as Sucden Middle East, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The Container

Further details suggest that the Bill of Lading with the number MEDUST209567, had Global Cargo and Commodities Ltd as a ‘Notify Party’ responsible for the arrival of the vessel who must inform the buyer who may be chosen by the seller.

Other details suggest that while the vessel was on her voyage to Tema, the seller informed the freight forwarding Company, Global Cargo and Commodities Ltd of Tradepass Gh Ltd as the confirmed consignee.

The consignee in this case is the entity with financial responsibility for the cargo, that is the buyer.

However, there was instruction for the goods to be kept at the warehouse till the green light was given for its release, presupposing the business contract had been sealed.

According to the Chronicle, its investigations found that Trade Pass Ghana Ltd had plans of using its own freight forwarding company to clear the goods but due to a problem it had with the Customs warehousing code, the consignee decided to fall on Global Cargo and Commodities Ltd to clear the fifty containers of sugar.