Report: Ghana a major destination for cars stolen in Western countries

A road in Accra, Ghana. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Cars stolen in Western countries are increasingly finding their way into Ghana, reports say.

In October 2022, Logan LaFarniere, a Canadian resident, woke up to an empty driveway after his brand new Ram Rebel truck, which he bought a year and a half ago, was stolen by two hooded men.

A few months later, that same truck appeared on a website of vehicles for sale in Ghana, a BBC report published on Monday said.

In 2022, more than 105,000 cars were stolen in Canada — about one car every five minutes.


Among the victims was Canada’s federal justice minister, whose government-issued Toyota Highlander XLE was taken twice by thieves, the report added.

The International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) said it has detected more than 1,500 cars around the world that have been stolen from Canada since February, and around 200 more continue to be identified each week, usually at ports in other countries.

Last year, a Digitpol report said Ghana was the preferred destination for criminal organisations dealing in stolen vehicles.


Digitpol is a criminal investigation agency headquartered in The Netherlands that provides expertise in forensics, investigation, tracing, and intelligence.

“Modern stolen cars are globally traceable through tracking systems, and a significant number of SUVs stolen in The Netherlands are transported to West Africa, particularly Ghana,” the report said.

“The stolen car investigation unit in Digitpol is hunting down the stolen cars together with the Vehicle Crime Insurance Bureau (VbV), the digital evidence on Digitpol’s platform, which records the movements of cars stolen in the Netherlands, paint a clear and alarming picture.

“Ghana seems to be the preferred destination for highly organized criminal organizations to ship their stolen vehicles. Once in Ghana, these cars are given a new lease of life, either within the capital, Accra, or through it.”


The report said suspects take advantage of Ghana’s National Road Transport Agency’s lack of interest in addressing car theft, with local law enforcement seemingly turning a blind eye.

“Whether this is due to corruption or sheer disinterest remains unclear. Criminal groups take advantage of the Ghanaian government’s inaction, resulting in the streets of Ghana being inundated with stolen Western cars,” the report said.

The report also said movement patterns of the stolen cars suggest that they often end up in private hands.

“An interesting observation is made regarding online locations in European countries where stolen cars often end up, particularly near large churches in Ghana,” the report added.


“While it is not yet established whether these churches are being exploited as a cover or vehicle for organized car theft, it remains a noteworthy fact.”

Digitpol also named Togo and Burkina Faso as preferred hubs for stolen vehicles in West Africa.

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