Preliminary findings from an on-going investigations has absolved the government from playing any role in the transfer of 1.5 tonnes of gold to the Islamic Republic of Iran, as alleged by some sections of the media.
It will be recalled that sections of the media reported the detention of an aircraft in Istanbul, Turkey, allegedly carrying 1.5 tonnes of gold originating from Ghana.
A statement signed by Mr Mahama Ayariga, Minister of Information and Media Relations, said Government, in two separate responses, first by Presidential Spokesperson John Jinapor and the second by Dr Raymond Atuguba, Executive Secretary of the President, denied any involvement in the use of gold to settle any transaction with the Government of Iran, as alleged in the said reports.
It said following the denial, President John Dramani Mahama directed that the matter be investigated by the security agencies, and preliminary reports of investigations conducted by the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI), has cleared the involvement of the state in the affair.
The statement said two Ghanaians – Peter Bedzrah and Fredrick Kojo Essumang, operating under the corporate identity of Omanye Gold Mining Ltd were involved in a transaction to supply gold to one Vahid Moradi Moghaddam.
It said a ULS cargo aircraft (Airbus 300-B4) arrived at the Kotoka International Airport from Tripoli, Libya and filed a Landing Clearance Request form in which they indicated that they were to lift gold bars as their cargo
The statement said the consignment arrived at the KIA for pre-export formalities under two certificates for “mineral samples” for “laboratory analysis only and of no commercial value” both signed for the Director of Geological Survey by one Dr Thomas Adu but with one dated 31st December 2012 and the second dated 7th January 2013. The said “mineral samples” were consigned to an address in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
It said at the airport, one Isaac Anakwa Asante, Head of Operations of Menzies Airline Handling Services which handled the aircraft from touchdown to departure and who inspected the cargo before scanning by Nick TC-Scan reported sighting gold bars, however, the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (CD/GRA) Instructions for the Dispatch of Goods (IDG) form entered the goods as “mineral samples”.
The statement said pre-departure formalities were endorsed by Kwesi Avemee, a collector of CD/GRA and Albert Kan Dapaah, a Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) official.
It said the cargo departed Accra on 31st December 2012 with the goods which was destined for Dubai but was detained in Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul, Turkey on 1st January, 2013 because of claims of questionable documentation.
It said investigations are on-going but it is obvious from the preliminary findings that the Government of Ghana was not involved with the transaction as conjectured in sections of the media.
The statement said BNI is still carrying out investigations into the discrepancy in description of the shipment at various times as mineral samples and gold bullion during the export process adding that efforts are being made to trace Mr Moghaddam and the interrogation of persons involved in the transaction is still ongoing.