Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Ernest Addison, has assured that discussions are far advanced for the central bank to provide some of its fleet of bullion vans coupled with getting helicopters from the air force to ensure the safe transportation of cash across the country.
His comments come on the back of an attack, in broad day light, on a bullion van at Manso Mem in the Amansie West District of the Ashanti Region some few weeks ago, with the armed robbers absconding with a reported two large metal cases containing cash, and further killing the cashier in the process. It is against this background that many are calling for the use of bullet-proof vans to transport cash to protect both the transporters and the cash from armed robbers.
Asked by the B&FT in a press conference in Accra yesterday on what the regulator is doing to improve security in transporting cash across the country, Dr. Addison said the central bank wants to make available its secured bullion vans, together with a collaboration with the air force to air-lift cash to address such security issues.
“This [the recent attack on bullion vans] is about the third or so incidence we have heard quite recently. Most of the banks use pickup trucks and convert them into bullion vans. The Bank of Ghana has taken it seriously so we have held a meeting with the banks to decide on the way forward. At least, we have quite a fleet of bullion vans and we are asking them to see how we can collaborate to ensure a more secure way of transferring money to parts of the country.
I have also met with the Air Marshal and he has offered to assist the bank with lifting currency around the country with some of the aircrafts they have. So there is a lot of work going on to improve the security of carrying cash around the country,” he said.
Concerns have been raised about the types of cars banks in the country are using as bullion vans, especially following the recent incidence in the Ashanti Region.
Most banks have resorted to using pick up trucks and converting their buckets to vaults for storing cash, with one or two police men accompanying the trucks as they move across the country to distribute cash to various branches, a practice that has proven to be unsafe as the trucks are vulnerable to attacks.
Police say they are investigating the Manso Mem case and has thus deployed its intelligence to gather credible information to uncover the circumstances of the crime and get the culprits apprehended and also possibly retrieve the two service AK-47 rifles belonging to the police which were stolen by the robbers.
In May this year, four armed robbers attacked a bullion van belonging to Absa Bank at Mmaampehia, near Techiman in the Bono East Region, taking away over GH¢600,000. In December 2019, another bullion van belonging to ADB Bank was attacked at Sefwi Asempanye.