Joint Association of Port Transport Unions accuse some security officers along transit routes of extortion

The Joint Association of Port Transport Unions (JAPTU), has accused operatives along the national routes of extortion and other illegal, from transit cargo truck drivers despite efforts from stakeholders to curb it.

Mr. Ibrahim Musah, Executive Secretary of JAPTU, disclosed this during a discussion which was monitored by the Communication for Development and Advocacy Consult (CDA Consult) in Tema.

He noted that despite several efforts by stakeholders of the port and shipping industry including the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to end the unacceptable practice, it is not yielding the expected desires.

Mr. Musah alleged that some Customs officers were charging truck drivers for services that were supposed to be free, explaining that for instance, some demanded between GHs500.00 and GHs1,000.00 to write a report on a transit truck that break down on the road as required by the Customs regulations even though that service is supposed to be free.

He said that even though transporters sometimes give a token to the officers in appreciation of their work, it was unacceptable for them to charge them for services that were supposed to be free under the guise of workmanship and logistical expenditure.

He noted that such activities apart from having some financial implications on the haulage transporters also tended to harm the country’s trade facilitation and the overall competitiveness of Ghana’s transit corridors.

The JAPTU Executive Secretary added that state officers on the corridor must understand that the country was in competition with others that have ports, therefore the need to conduct themselves in a manner that would promote trade.

He cautioned that developmental and marketing efforts made towards upgrading the country’s ports might be rendered futile if these actions were not urgently curtailed.

Mr. Musah also called for the removal of some of the police barriers on the corridor, saying from Tema to Paga, there were not less than 70 such barriers.

He said, “much as the police hierarchy will tell you that the roads need to be safe, which we appreciate, sometimes we think some officers take undue advantage of providing security, to rather extort monies.

“You have uniformed policemen who would disrespect their uniforms by demanding five cedis from drivers.”

Source: Modern Ghana