The Customs, Excise and Preventive Services (CEPS) and Philip Morris, the sole producers of Marlboro Cigarettes have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to share information and knowledge in the fight against the smuggling of fake Cigarettes into the country.
Philip Morris is expected to help train CEPS officials on how to properly scan containers and detect fake Cigarettes.
The Country Director of Philip Morris, Mr Jallo Diallo, signed on behalf of his company, while the Commissioner of CEPS, Mr Emmanuel Doku, signed on behalf of CEPS.
Mr Diallo commended CEPS for its vigilance and arrest of the fake Cigarettes. He said the action had sent a strong signal to the international community about the seriousness of the service to fight smuggling.
Mr Doku said apart from the health hazard that smuggling of fake Cigarettes posed, it also denied the country the needed revenue for development.
He urged officials of CEPS not to rest on their laurels, since the smugglers would be mapping out new strategies to outwit them to bring into the country those fake Cigarettes.
A Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr Anthony Akoto Osei, who witnessed the signing ceremony, expressed the hope that the MoU would go a long way to help fight the smuggling of goods into the country.
In a related development, (CEPS) has destroyed a container full of seized fake Marlboro Cigarettes at Kpone near Tema.
This brings to six the number of containers of fake Cigarettes destroyed by CEPS since last week.
The six were among 16 containers of fake Cigarettes labelled as shoes which were seized by CEPS last year.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic after the destruction of the Cigarettes, a Deputy Commissioner of CEPS in charge of Preventive, Mr Africanus Owusu-Ansah, said no country had arrested Cigarettes of such magnitude in Africa.
He said the fake Cigarettes, which were imported from China, had 1,200 cartons of the Cigarettes in a container.
Mr Owusu-Ansah said the containers were said to contain shoes but when they were opened for examination by CEPS officials, it was realised that they contained Marlboro Cigarettes.
He said a sample of the Cigarettes was sent to Philips Morris, the sole producers of that brand of Cigarettes, but after tests it confirmed that it was fake.