On 16th March 2012, a “bullion van” of a bank was involved in an accident in front of the Circle Vodafone Office. The door was opened and passers-by scrambled for the cash at the expense of their lives.
The police did not announce after investigations whether there was foul play.
That was the first prompt to the regulator, the Bank of Ghana (BoG), the Banks, Insurance companies, the National Insurance Commission, the Ghana Police Service, and the National Security outfits to take notice.
The recent memory of the Bullion van attacks dates back to 2018.
Between 2018 and 2021, three lives were lost, and many sustained injuries. The amount made away by the robbers was at least Ghc1,050,000.
On the 12th June 2021, it was announced by the Managing Director, Mr. Kojo Mattah during their 19th Annual General Meeting (AGM) that, the ARB Apex Bank has received approval from shareholders to purchase 12 armored cash transport vehicles, commonly known as bullion vans, at GH¢32 million.
Prior to that 3 armored vehicles have been procured from the internal sources of the ARB Apex Bank.
We are waiting for an update on whether the 12 armored bullion vehicles have been bought and the 15 duly deployed in Takoradi, Kumasi, and Accra as announced.
Two days later, a Police officer and a lady fell victim to the fatal daylight robbery incident in Accra on 14th June 2021, involving a ‘bullion van’ carrying cash for a bank
On September 5th, 2022, Banks in Ghana procured 60 armored bullion vans to ensure the safe carting of money and the protection of lives, Mr. John Awuah, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Association of Bankers (GAB), announced.
He said the special-purpose vehicles with sirens, tracking devices, bullet-resistant glass, and other protective features were procured between January and June.
Mr. Awuah added that a lot more such security vehicles would be in the country by December.
Mr. Awuah said the Banks and the Ghana Police Service had also procured some armored vests and ballistic helmets to ensure that officers who went on escort duties were fully armed in the required regalia.
We do not have any information on the number of bullion vans procured by the Association of Bankers as of June 2023.
Why do Police officers keep going on duties in "bullion vans" without the ballistic helmets and armored vests?
Subsequently, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo attended Ghana Armed Force's 2022 end-of-year gathering and during the visit, examined four bullion vehicles as part of a handing-over ceremony.
That the first four vehicles DIKMAC equipped at its armored vehicle assembling facility at Burma Camp in Accra were now prepared for usage, His Excellency was informed.
DIKMAC is a joint venture between the private business arm of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), Defense Industries Holding Company Limited (DIHOC), and Kenaki Manufacturing Company Limited (KMC) with technical support for the plant's establishment from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the country's largest state-owned defense industrial complex.
In addition, DIKMAC is to retrofit "soft-skin" Cash-In-Transit (CIT) vehicles for current CIT Companies in accordance with the Armoring requirements of the Bank of Ghana. The CIT trucks assembled by DIKMAC would be accompanied by a control center that monitors and tracks them nationwide.
Whether all details of bullion vans outside the assemblage of DIKMAC will be fed onto this digital platform remains to be seen.
According to Mr. Kenneth Akibate, DIKMAC Managing Director, multiple stakeholder interactions, including those with the Bank of Ghana, Ghana Police Service, and Ghana Association of Bankers, resulted in the Armed Forces Council endorsing the DIKMAC's CIT.
So far, no information is available as to the number of bullion vans assembled or retrofitted by DIKMAC since the President's visit.
Meanwhile, bullion vans belonging to the Kantanka Group of Companies have been seized by the Interior Ministry as announced by Chief Executive Kwadwo Safo Kantanka Jnr on Twitter.
The number of vans seized and the reasons for the seizure were not given in the tweet.
The President of the Association of Bullion Operators Ghana (ABOG), Alhaji Iddi Sumaila, has revealed that about 150 armored bullion vans are ready to be used by banks from July 1, 2023.
His comments are coming after four armed robbers attacked a "bullion van" at a petroleum filling station at Ablekuma in the Greater Accra region, killing a police officer.
Needless to say, the “bullion van” involved in the Ablekuma Fuel Station was not armored.
Where are/were the armored vehicles procured by the Banks?
It has emerged that a letter dated December 20th, 2020, and signed by one Aleathea Godson Amamoo (Ms) on behalf of the Secretary of the Bank of Ghana, issued a directive after a meeting with Cash Operations Managers of Banks in Ghana.
In the directive, Deposit Money Banks and Specialised Money-Taking Institutions (SMTI) were directed to procure armored-plated vans for their cash operations.
So why did the banks defy the directive?
And why was the directive not enforced by the Bank of Ghana?
Will the tires of the bullion vans be able to withstand high-caliber bullets?
We are trying to acquire the Armoring Requirements of the Bank of Ghana.
Are BoG, GAB, and SMTIs supposed to source all their bullion vans from DIKMAC and Kantanka?