Jan 26, 2009, 5:21 AM
liaison customs officers of Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Regional
Intelligence Liaison Officer (RILO) of the World Customs Organisation have
recently concluded a 10-day regional forum at Senegambia Beach Hotel.
The forum was hosted by GRA courtesy of the CRIHARM5 operations. During the period, the 23 members of the WCO-WCA gathered with the aim to combat illicit trade in counterfeit pharmaceuticals and other contraband products through the Operations Coordination Unit (OCU) of the Regional Intelligence Liaison office West and Central Africa.
Gambia Revenue Authority officials said they are pleased to host the customs regional forum.
The operation is an annual event targeting trade illicit and or irregular pharmaceutical products and has had tremendous success last year in The Gambia.
In his closing remarks, commissioner general of GRA, Yankuba Darboe said the annual CRIPHARM5 Operations have been gaining momentum since its inception and the 5th Edition in Banjul has been the most successful so far.
He added that annually, seizures of contraband across the bloc are increasing impressively thanks to the admirable leadership of RILO West and Central African directors and other teams.
“The West and Central region continue to be challenged by organised cross-border crimes especially on trade in poor quality foods, medicaments, cosmetic, cigarettes, alcohol and product whose inferior quality are detrimental to human consumption, while consumption of counterfeit products presents huge public health risks to our population, business in these industries continue to thrive and the cartels continue to profit on our vulnerable population.”
According to him, customs play an indispensable role in the interception and disruption of nefarious enterprises in the smuggling and illegitimate trade in counterfeit or inferior quality of products for the populations.
He said the CRIHARM5 Operations are part of the response by WCO-WCA to address the problems of counterfeit products consumed by humans that pose long term risks to human health, saying the CRIHARM5 operations is a platform for analysis, information sharing and networking for the WCO-WCA region, and in realisation of this goal, it has been making tremendous success.
Commissioner General Darboe extended gratitude to the CRIPHARM5 team for their outstanding performance in coordination massive amounts of seizures within the West and Central African region.