It is almost two months since the directive to banks to procure armoured bullion vans expired. The directive follows a series of robberies targeted at transited vans carrying cash leading to the death of some Ghanaians.
So to what extent has these directives been complied with?.
In the last two years there has been number of robberies across the country which targeted bullion vans transiting cash. Among them were the robbery at Adedenkpo near James Town in Accra in which one police officer on board was shot dead. An onlooker was also shot dead.
The latest robbery attack took place at the North Industrial Area in which the Police thwarted an attempted robbery attack on a bullion van.
The aftermath of these attacks witnessed the police issuing a statement to the affect that until the banks procure bulletproof vehicles, officers of the service will not accompany bullion vans in transit.
The series of attacks also compelled compelled the Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery to issue a directive to all banks to procure armoured vehicles or risk being sanctioned which includes stopping the said banks from transiting cash in the ‘improvised pick -up bullion vans’
Deadline for the directive expired in June, 2021 but was extended to July, 2022.
The Bank of Ghana, BOG also issued a similar directive aimed at forcing the banks to comply.
But available information to 3news.com indicates the banks have reluctantly failed to comply with these directive .
When this reporter hit the streets of Accra to ask Ghanains whether they have spotted any of such armoured vans in town many responded in the negative.
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Kwame Owusu, a resident at James Town recounted that ” Event of the last attack in this town is still fresh on my mind. I saw how my mother ran for her life and another woman dying. I do not wish same on any community because it was terrifying. I have never seen any bank transiting cash in the so called armoured vehicles. I only see the bank of Ghana blue vans moving around with police escorts” he narrated.
Another resident, Naa Ashokor Ashley said ” I am surprised that suddenly this conversation has died and no one is talking about it . The banks are insensitive”. He stated.
Security and Foreign Policy Analyst, Adib Saani is calling for punitive measures against banks which are yet to comply with the directive. He noted the concerns of Ghanains are not being taken serious by the sector agency( Ministry of Interior) and the banks. “I think the banks must place priority and human lives first. I hear the banks have procured some 60 of such armoured vans but that is woefully inadequate because apart from the big cities, we have banks transiting cash at the rural areas and I can tell you for sure that the 60 vans are not even enough to cater for the big cities”.
The Interior Minister must crack the whip by instituting punitive measures to serve as deterent to other banks that have not complied. The Bank of Ghana can also decide that henceforth banks without the vans would be bared from transiting cash”. He angrily stated.
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But President of the Association of Bankers John Awuah is upbeat about his members complying. He said discussions have been going on between the Ministry of Interior and the operators of the bullion vans to purchase more vehicles . He also confirmed that 60 of such vans have been procured and expect the banks to procure more.
Meanwhile, when contacted, the Bullion Van Operators of Ghana say they were initially faced with procedural challenges with the ministry which have been resolved.
President of the association, Alhaji Iddi Sumaila whome this reporter reached on phone said an estimated 400 bullion vans are expected in the country by the end of December.
He was grateful to the Ministry of Interior for ironing out all the thorny issues regarding standardization and procurement procedures. He said after a series of meeting, certification were given and there are more armoured bullion vans at the ports and many more in Dubai awaiting ‘green light from the banks to go ahead and clear them.
The Interior Ministry is however yet to comment on the flouting of the directives and the accompanying sanctions.