Pirated textile smugglers to face prosecution

• Mr Murtala Mohammed — Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry.

The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Murtala Mohammed, says government will soon start prosecuting smugglers of pirated textiles into the country.

He said the current seizure and burning of pirated textiles were not deterrent enough, hence, the smugglers had taken advantage of the situation to abuse the system.

The deputy minister disclosed this when he, together with his entourage, burnt 3,500 pieces of pirated Ghanaian textile designs at the Kpone landfill site this week.

Mr Murtala said the ministry had met the Chief Justice and the judicial service who had trained some selected people from various institutions to act as prosecutors to deal with cases related to pirated textiles.

“We have currently arrested four individuals and we are looking at the necessary evidence to prosecute these people”, he stated.

Mr Murtala said the development of the country depended on how well the government could protect such industries.

“The only way we can also reduce our trade deficit is to ensure that our local industries that are doing well are protected so that people don’t take advantage of their intellectual property”, he stated.

He said Ghana was a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and, therefore, bound by all agreements under the WTO agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

He said article 51-60 of the TRIPS agreement enjoined all members of WTO to take action to prevent goods that infringed on people’s intellectual property rights.

“Bringing pirated textiles into the country is against the laws of the country and it, therefore, makes a lot of sense to destroy them”, he added.