POLICE IN the Ashanti region have arrested five foreign nationals suspected to be members of a syndicate that engages in pirating Ghanaian local movies and songs.

Larabu Sumanu, 23; Issah Ousman, 22; Kabiru Amadu, 32; Abdul Raman Mumuni, 25 and Issaka Mohamadu, 22, all from Niger, were arrested on Tuesday at about 12:30 p.m. at various locations in Kumasi.

Inspector Mohammed Yussif Tanko, Public Relations Officer of the Ashanti Regional Police, who briefed the media on the incident, said the suspects were arrested by a combined team of police officers and a taskforce from the Akan Film Producers Association (AFPA) upon a tip-off.

He indicated that 2,000 pieces of video discs packed in 10 boxes were retrieved from the suspects, who were in business with others now at large.

The suspects, he said, buy copies of original video discs of the Akan movies, take them to their home country where they produce pirated copies, and smuggle them into the country for sale at cheaper prices.

Inspector Tanko cautioned retailers against selling of pirated video and audio CDs since they equally “commit a crime and risk prosecution” upon arrest, and appealed to them to report persons who attempt to supply them with such products.

The vice president of AFPA, Kwaku Twumasi, told DAILY GUIDE in an interview that the practice was a canker in the Ghanaian movie industry and that the practice does not only affect them commercially but also “portrays our movies as inferior in terms of picture and sound quality”.

According to him, such activities also put them at a great disadvantage to compromise on quality and professionalism.

“We are appealing to the general public to be on the lookout for pirated movies and report promptly to the police for necessary action,” he added.