COCOBOD intensifies crackdown on cocoa smuggling syndicates


…as 38 year old electrician is sentenced to 7 years for attempted smuggling.

The war against illicit activities of cocoa smuggling syndicates, which was launched by Ghana Cocoa Board with support from the state’s security agencies, continues to yield positive results.

Few days after the Krobo Odumase Circuit Court in the Eastern Region sentenced a man to 7 years in prison for attempting to smuggle bags of cocoa beans from Ghana into neighbouring Togo, the court has once again handed seven (7) jail term to another suspect, a 38 year old electrician for similar offences.

The suspect, Kingsley Kotto, an electrician, aged 38, together with Eric Kwabena Darko, a driver, aged, 41, was arrested at Maame Wata community near Juapong by personnel of the Anti-Cocoa Smuggling Task Force whilst attempting to smuggle bags of cocoa beans to neighbouring Togo.

According to the facts of the case as presented in court by the police, on Thursday, April 25, 2024, personnel of the Anti-Cocoa Smuggling Task Force whilst on routine checks on the Atimpoku-Hohoe Highway suspected a sprinter bus with registration number AS-4175-23 which was loaded with agro chemicals en route from Kumasi towards Hohoe.

Upon thorough search of the vehicle, ten (10) bags of dried cocoa beans concealed rubber bags and sacks were found. The driver of the vehicle, Eric Kwabena Darko was subsequently arrested and handed over to the Akosombo Police where a formal complaint was lodged

In the curse of interrogation, Kwabena Darko admitted in his caution statement and mentioned Kingsley Kotto as the one who contracted him to transport the beans from Nsutam in the Eastern Region at a charge of GH ₵100.00 per bag for onwards smuggling into the Republic of Togo.

Armed with this information, the police consequently arrested Kingsley Kotto who also admitted ownership of the contrabands and stated in his caution statement that he purchased the cocoa beans from a friend in Koforidua.

Investigations further proved that the 10 bags of cocoa beans were not inspected, graded and sealed by any recognized cocoa inspector which is a criminal offence under the laws of Ghana.

Kingsley Kotto was therefore charged with offences of Purchase of Cocoa without authority contrary to S4 of Ghana Cocoa Board Act, 1984(PNDCL81), Attempting to smuggle cocoa beans contrary to S317 (i) of the Criminal and Other Offences Act 1960(Act29) and Attempting to export cocoa beans which have not been inspected, graded and sealed by an Inspector of cocoa, contrary to S 3 of Cocoa Industry Regulations Act, 1968(NLCD278).

He was found guilty on his own plea and sentenced to seven years in prison by the court.

However, the driver, Eric Kwabena Darko, who charged with aiding and abetting, was later discharged after investigations revealed he did not conspire with Kotto to smuggle the items.

The arrest and prosecution of Kingsley Kotto bring two, the second person sentenced to 7 years in a week for cocoa smuggling.

On Wednesday, the Court, presided over by His Honour Judge Kwesi Apiatse Abaiddu, sentenced one Issifu Nyandi, to 7 (seven) years in prison after being found guilty for attempting to smuggle bags of cocoa beans from Ghana to neighbouring Togo.

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