The Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) has directed all vehicle dealers and individuals in possession of 95 luxury vehicles, suspected to have been stolen and smuggled into Ghana, which had been frozen through a court order, to hand them over to the office before 31 May 2023 or face the wrath of the law.
After 31 May 2023, EOCO said it would take steps to confiscate the vehicles in accordance with the law if the persons in possession of the vehicles failed to respond to the directive.
EOCO in a statement said the vehicles were frozen by the Executive Director of EOCO, Commissioner of Police Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Danquah and confirmed by the High Court in 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), in Canada carried out an intelligence led operation for the retrieval of various specifications of luxury vehicles suspected to have been stolen from the United States of America and Canada.
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 persons were arrested during the exercise.
According to EOCO, the vehicles were part of about 400 vehicles believed to have been stolen from Canada and the United States of America (USA).
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 EOCO secured a court order authorising the seizure of 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.
Mandate of EOCO
EOCO is a specialized agency established through the EOCO Act 2010 (Act 804) to monitor and investigate economic and organised crime and on the authority of the Attorney General prosecute offenders to recover the proceeds of crime.
As part of the functions of the Office, it co-operates with relevant foreign or international agencies in furtherance of its objectives.
Attached below is the list of the wanted vehicles with their modules and VIN.