Ghana’s Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) has announced that it has seized some 95 luxury cars which it is yet to retrieve from their dealers or owners.
Those in possession of those stolen cars are to report with them to EOCO with all the necessary documentation not later than 3 May 2023.
EOCO said it would take steps, in accordance with the law, to confiscate the vehicles if the owners or dealers fail to report themselves.
The cars, according to a statement issued by EOCO on Tuesday, 18 April 2023, were frozen by it Executive Director, COP Police Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Danquah and confirmed by the High Court pursuant to section 33 of the EOCO Act, 2010 (Act 804).
Already, EOCO has identified the vehicles and the addresses of those in possession of the vehicles.
In December 2022, EOCO, in a joint operation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States of America (USA) and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) of Canada, carried out an intelligence-led operation for the retrieval of various specifications of luxury vehicles suspected to have been stolen from the two North American countries.
The exercise followed reports on the activity of some suspected criminals.
During the exercise, officers of the participating agencies visited six garages in Dzorwulu, Dimples, North Kaneshie, East Legon, Accra Central near the Movenpick Hotel, Dzorwulu Roundabout near the Fiesta Royale Hotel and near the Trinity Theological Seminary.
At the end of the joint action, 37 vehicles were retrieved from some garages in Accra and 10 people were arrested.
According to EOCO, the vehicles were part of about 400 others that were stolen from the USA and Canada and shipped to Ghana.
The luxury vehicles retrieved included BMW X7 and X5, Jeep Wrangler, Mercedes Benz S-class, Mercedes Benz GLE, Mercedes Benz G, Audi SS, Range Rover LNDR, Jonder Odyssey, Benz 5350, Honda Accord, Lexus RX, Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot and Acura RDX.
In February 2023, EOCO secured a court order authorising the seizure of some vehicles suspected of being stolen and smuggled into Ghana.
The court order was also to restrain anyone from disposing of the vehicles.
Before the court order, the office had seized 41 vehicles from various vehicle sales points.
A few days ago, a documentary by Nat Geo shed more light on how stolen vehicles are shipped from the US to Ghana and how the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) is altered to help prevent security operatives from detecting the vehicles are stolen.
The investigation by Mariana van Zeller for the National Geographic Channel exposes the syndicate of shipping some of the stolen vehicles to Ghana.
Sometimes, the VIN of a salvage vehicle bought at an auction is swapped with that of a clean vehicle stolen from the streets and this does not raise any red flags when leaving the system in the US.
The documentary highlights the activities of car thieves in the US, and how they collaborate with people in Ghana to get the stolen vehicles into the country.