By: Emmanuel Mensah-Abludo.
On 14th June 2021, some unidentified armed men attacked and robbed a bullion van at Adedenkpo, a suburb of James Town in Accra. The gang shot and killed a policeman, General Constable Emmanuel Osei, aboard the van as well as a 35-year-old woman, Efua Badu, who is alleged to have tried raising an alarm on seeing the men in action. The driver of the van was also shot but survived.
Following the incident, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr James Oppong-Boanuh, directed the Director-General of the Criminal Investigation Department to take over the investigations into the attack. Per a statement signed by the Director of Public Affairs of the Ghana Police Service, Superintendent Sheilla Kessie Abayie-Buckman (Mrs), on 14th June, 2021, the IGP equally reminded “the Association of Bankers to provide fortified armoured vehicles for carting currencies by the close of June 2021 as earlier agreed between them and the Police Service, lest, the Police Service withdraws its officers for escort duties”.
2020 BoG Directive
Meanwhile, the Bank of Ghana (BoG), on 24th December, 2020, had written to the Executive Secretary of Association of Bankers, Alhassan Andani, giving a directive on the need for “armoured bullion vans to be used for cash in transit activities”.
In that correspondence, the BoG recalled a meeting it held with Cash Operations Managers of banks on Thursday, 15th October 2020, and directed that all Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions (SDIs) to procure armoured plated bullion vans for its [their]cash operations.
The Central Bank (BoG) was clear that its directive was occasioned by the spate of armed attacks during cash-in-transit (CIT) activities, leading to loss of lives, currency and destruction of sophisticated equipment which had become a national security concern.
The DMBs and SDIs (banks) were instructed to acquire fit-for-purpose armoured plated vehicles with European-Standard B6 ballistic protection for passenger compartment and European-Standard B4 for cargo compartment. BoG directed that it should be involved in the procurement of the vehicles to ensure compliance in relation to Specifications.
The Central Bank instructed that DMBs and SDIs should acquire the Armoured Bullion Vans by 1st July, 2023. The BoG warned that after the deadline, it will not admit or allow any soft-skinned [non-armoured] Cash in Transit (CIT) vehicle into its premises across Ghana.
Duration of armouring:
According to ARMORMAX, which describes itself as ‘a World leader in the manufacturing and design of armoured passenger vehicles’, customers can bring their vehicles into one of its facilities or it can assist a customer to buy his or her vehicle for armoured fortification.
The armouring process, depending on the package selected by a client, can take anywhere from 30 – 45 working days on a majority of vehicle models. The International Armoring Corporation is able to accomplish this due to the volume of vehicles being armoured and by keeping in stock armour components for most of the popular luxury vehicles.
It further stated that, depending on the package and level of protection, it starts at about 200 hours [8.33 days] and can go well over 1,000 hours [41.66 days] based on the complexity of the build.
From the perspective of Texas Armoring Corporation (TAC), “An honest timeframe for having a vehicle armored is approximately 90-150 days”.
A former Managing Director of Bank of Africa, Menson Torkornoo, has asked the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to review the deadline for banks to procure fortified armoured vehicles. Mr. Torkornoo is of the view that the directive is unrealistic, saying that banks will face challenges in connection with the acquisition of the armoured bullion vans by the end of June.
IGP’s directive is not feasible within the next two weeks. Available data from the amouring industry show that it will be practically difficult if not impossible for all Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and Specialized Deposit-Taking Institutions (SDIs) to acquire armoured bullion vans within 16 days [by end of June, 2021] as directed by the IGP.
It is recommended, however, that a triumvirate committee comprising the security services, the Association of Bankers and BoG should be formed to see to it all Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and Specialized Deposit-Taking Institutions (SDIs) procure armoured plated bullion vans for their cash operations in keeping with BoG’s directive which ends by 1st July, 2023.
The Researcher produced this piece per the 2021 Kwame Karikari Fact-checking Fellowship in partnership with GBC Radio Upper West to facilitate the ethos of truth in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.