UK customs confiscate 26 million pounds from Ghanaian smuggler?

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It is emerging that, the British Authorities, have intercepted a cash amount of 26 million pounds sterling in suitcases being carried to the UK.

Upon arrest of the money, its owner is said to have told the UK authorities that it was proceeds from business deals he brokered in Ghana.

The supposed owner of the huge cash, is reported to be a Ghanaian, who holds dual citizenship.

Sources who have claimed knowledge of the money, have sought to link the money to an influential member of the Akufo-Addo family, but The Herald is yet to ascertain that person's involvement.

But other sources have also said that, the UK authorities, had instructed the owner of the money to get authorization from the Ghana Revenue Authority's anti-money laundering desk to enable the release of the cash, but this has not been forthcoming.

This was after he had described the money as legitimate.

There are additional claims of officers being moved around at GRA, after one had refused to issue the said certificate to have the UK authorities release the money.

But the claim that, GRA officers are being moved remains doubtful, as The Herald was told by GRA insiders, that the authority does not issue such authorization rather, they ensure that illegitimate monies are not brought into the country by unscrupulous individuals.

The GRA source, directed The Herald to the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Ghana, as the possible places where such a transaction can be authorized.

However, social media platforms, including Facebook and WhatsApp, have been buzzing with claims about how the seized amount was first mentioned by the Member of Parliament for Tamale Central Constituency, Lawyer Inusah Abdulai Bistav Fuseini on Radio Gold's online portal hosted by Sena Nombo, last week.

Since then, people have claimed that the money was intercepted at Heathrow Airport in the UK.

Mention has also been made of the UK's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) that they are currently investigating the suspected money laundering and have requested documents in respect of the money from the Ghana government.

This is coming days after the Belgium European giant Bank - The ING Bank, gave notice to Ghana Embassy in Belgium - that all its accounts with the bank will be closed.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, insists that the ING issue is as a result of the West African nation being blacklisted by the European Union (EU) for non-compliance with money laundering and terrorism financing regulations.

Inusah Fuseini speaking on the Martin Amidu's corruption risk assessment on the Agyapa scandal, said a lot of things are happening that probably is forcing the hand of the government.

You know the European Union, has blacklisted Ghana. The Financial Action Taskforce has almost blacklisted Ghana. The claim is that Ghana is one of the green counties; countries that are not given all clearance.

Last week, the ING bank in Belgium, ordered our mission in Belgium to withdraw all it's money from their bank and close the account.

Now a lot of information is coming out pointing clearly to money laundering activity and corrupt activities of this government. So they could not risk in the face of all these happening internationally and locally to go ahead with the IPO. So they found a convenient reason to say that they are abiding by the decision of Martin Amidu's Risk assessment.

Asked whether there are several factors, he insisted that indeed, there are factors, adding some of the factors he can't mention them on air readily because they're are yet to be verified.

The British government customs, have incepted a large amount of money from a key government official and are asking for documentation. That money was ferried into the United Kingdom by Chartered plane.

A large amount of money about 26 million pounds sterling. And they are still investigating. The information is just filtering through. Is not done yet. About a month ago, the Serious Fraud Office of UK, had reasons to ask for further and better particulars about the money, because that transfer raised under British government rules red flags about suspicious transactions.

And they are still investigating and the information is still filtering through. Is not done yet.

About a month or so ago, the Serious Fraud Office, had reason to ask for further and better particulars on the transfers that had been effected to Britain.

Because that transfer raised an infested or the British government wrote red flags. The transaction came under the STR (suspicious crime action) and a report was made... that's why I said STR. So the serious fraud office in Britain dealt with suspicion transaction report of an amount of money that had been transferred from this country to Britain.

There are so many issues that before you even finished divesting one, another is also hitting you in the face. There so...many, there so many! So u can't even understand exactly where this government is heading us to.

When asked if he knows the people involved in this arrangements, he responded: "Yes, [but] Because the information is just unraveling, so I'm unable to mention their names.....When asked, if he can say for a fact that these things occurred and are still being investigated, he answered, ..."yes yes... I've just dropped the hint so you can also start nosing around because you're a journalist.

There are a combination of things (forcing the government's hand). These, the international community is becoming worried about money laundering activities of this government. And then, is even closing accounts of our embassies...A bank in Belgium has ordered our embassy to withdraw all their monies from their account and close the account... not even give them an opportunity to explain anything..close the account. We don't want you as our customers.

You are too risky to be our customers. You remember, is it Singaporean bank that paid about 3billion dollars because of money laundering activities? So they think that Ghana embassy in Belgium is too risky to be their client. So they're prepared to sacrifice that client than to damage their reputation.

And this is serious and I don't know why Ghanaians are not even averting their minds to that. Is a contract between the Ghana embassy in Belgium and the ING Bank, that Ghana embassy in Belgium can take their monies with the bank anytime they need their money, the bank promises them to make the money available to them.

Then the bank, out of the blue, has written to Ghana embassy that they no longer wish to take them as client. And Ghana embassy is the government of Ghana, is the representative of government of Ghana and the state of Ghana in Belgium. Belgium is the financial capital of Europe. So the conclusion that comes to mind is that the ING bank, the Ghana embassy in Belgium is so risky a client to continue to maintain them as their client and operate their account.

More to come!

Source: The Herald