November 24, 2017 By Joseph S. Margai
The Anti-Smuggling Unit (ASU) of the National Revenue Authority (NRA) and the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) on Wednesday 22nd November, 2017, discovered and confiscated thirty-four bales (34) of marijuana at Gbalamuya Customs Post in Kambia, northern Sierra Leone.
Support Officer of the Kambia Police Division, Superintendent Abdul Kimbo,confirmed to Concord Times that the 34 bales of marijuana were about to be transported to neighbouring Guinea.
“The unknown owners of the marijuana cleverly packaged it like bales of used clothes so that they could not be easily detected. Once someone looks at it, he would think that the bundles of marijuana were bales of used clothes. To make it more difficult to detect, they were loaded in the same truck with a Guinean registration number RC 18758, together with four hundred and sixty (460) jerry cans of palm oil that were also on their way to Guinea,” he explained.
He said they were informed that the bales of marijuana were owned by some individuals who had moved ahead and left the said packages behind.
He disclosed the truck driver, one Abdul Turay, was arrested and taken to the police station as a suspect to help the police with investigation.
Supt. Kimbo said the bales of marijuana were conveyed to the Kambia Police Station as exhibit, while exploring every avenue to arrest the alleged owners of the illegal drug.
He said the 460 jerry cans of palm oil were handed over to the NRA’s ASU personnel at Gbalamuya Customs.
The issue of smuggling goods along the Kambia-Guinea highway has been very evident in recent times.
Most notable was the incident in which fuel tankers, which were being smuggled to neighbouring Guinea some months ago, were confiscated by the police and NRA officials in Kambia.
It was rumoured that fuel dealers had claimed that the pump price of fuel in Sierra Leone was lower compared to what obtains in Guinea.
So, they embarked on smuggling the substance from Sierra Leone to Guinea, thereby causing shortage of the direly needed commodity in the country.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had advised government to remove subsidy on fuel on the grounds that the latter was losing billions of Leones to smugglers.
The ripple effect of that was the increase in the pump price of fuel from three thousand, seven hundred Leones (Le3,700) to six thousand Leones (Le6,000) per litre.