Detecting Smuggling Is The Task Of Custom Officials – US Commissioner


Peace FM Online

Date Published

The United States Customs and Border Protection Commissioner has called on African governments to build stronger relations to help tighten border security, combat human trafficking and the smuggling of hazardous materials.          

Addressing the media in Accra, Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske said customers and a tautem border security would enhance trade, boost investments and fuel economic growth to create jobs and mitigate poverty on the continent.

He was speaking during a telephonic press briefing organised by the Africa Regional Media Hub.

“The detection of smuggled goods is important to every customs’ service around the world,” he said, “because smuggled goods hurt the economy.”

“They take away from lawful jobs, they harm workers and they undermine the trust that people must have in government,” he added, “so detecting smuggled goods is an important issue for every customs’ service.“

He said smugglers also work very to learn how custom officials operated and did everything they could as organised criminals to try and evade lawful customs’ rules and regulations and duties.

“So we will share with our colleagues in the customs’ services in other countries, and Ghana in particular, what methods we use to try and detect smuggling and I won’t go into those on this call,” he said.

Countries ought to share information about suspicious cargo or people known to have engaged in criminal activity in the past, he said, that type of trust and relationship was only built when there were visits and talks among colleagues.

“That is the type of relationship that can improve the detection of smuggled goods and it’s the type of relationship that also lends to improving trust of people in government.”

Customs and Border Protection in the United States has dual mission of both customs collecting revenue, inspecting cargo, dealing with travelers coming to and from the country.

He said: “So having that dual mission, having a close relationship with a continent that is thriving is the goal of Customs Border Protection.”

“We’ve also expanded our number of international attachés in Africa and having one of our personnel on the ground in Kenya and another one in South Africa.”

The commission has the border security initiative, Kerlikowske said, and “we have over 60,000 employees, we have about 800 people overseas.”

“We have not really had as much of a presence or as much interaction with Africa, particularly from the level of the Commissioner’s Office and the Commissioner himself well over 10 years,” he said.

The commission has championed various initiatives in Africa including South Africa and Tanzania to help fight criminal activities along the borders including wildlife trafficking.

Mr Kerlikowske said the move is to help put Africa at its best in intercontinental trades and relationships which could ease the flow of export and import businesses.  

He said the commission would continue to invest in the training of custom officers across the continent through financing education, provision of trainers with in-depth knowledge in cargo management, fraud tracking, and intellectual property rights.

“We have expanded a number of our international attaché’s in Africa to help strengthen border securities”, he said.    

He said the initiatives would pave the way for increased investments as investors would like to put in their finances and resources in countries with secure exports and imports mechanisms.

“Investment leads to economic growth and development which transform standard of living,” he said.