Illegal, fraudulent deals at Ghana’s Tema Port heightens
Apart from conniving and condoning with importers to defraud the state of the necessary revenue, officials of Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) are also accused of deliberately under declaring goods of importers for personal gains.
All these came out during an investigation the Ghana News Agency (GNA) carried out to find out whether the age-long allegations and accusations that CEPS officials at the Ports and Harbours were really looting state coffers to further their own nests were real or falsehood.
A junior official of CEPS, who pleaded anonymity with the GNA, said in most cases, the senior officers do not inspect the goods for particular importers because “those importers pay heavily to them and we at the end have to do the donkey job everyday for them to enjoy.”
He said the deals were quite prevalent in the importation of chicken parts, where the senior officials had over the years condoned with the importers to under value the goods into much cheaper ones.
The GNA learnt that, there was a particular company that had eight different names and anytime some vigilant officers were closing on them they changed into another name to avoid arrest, which was mostly masterminded by some of the CEPS officials.
The investigations also revealed that the CT camera scanners at the long room of the Tema Port could not differentiate between various parts of imported chicken, which the officials and importers capitalised on to carry out their deals at the blind side of other revenue generating companies.
The official also told the GNA that the Company which was registered in eight names actually had no bonded warehouse, thereby enabling the importer to either sell directly in the market or hide their goods in unknown locations to evade tax from government and other agencies.
The GNA also gathered that the deals were now even on the ascendency after President Mills had issued a warning to the service.
Further investigations at the Kotoka International Airport also revealed that CEPS officials were still engaged in petty extortions to the embarrassment of Ghana, which is seen as the gateway to West Africa.
The GNA learnt that the officials at the arrivals section of the airport often beg for items such as perfumes, deodorants, socks and even money, which was tarnishing the image of Ghana in general and not just the Service.
When the GNA contacted Officials of CEPS at the Headquarters nothing concrete was said to either deny or confirm the findings.
After 48 hours of unsuccessful search for comments, GNA was finally introduced to Mr Philip Amoh to make comments on the issue.
Few minutes after the introductory statement, Mr Amoh coiled back into his shell, saying “I have to let my Boss hear this and give you the necessary comments,” which the GNA complied.
After another 24 hours, the GNA called Mr Amoh via phone, who said he had given the GNA Editor’s contact to his Boss Mr Robert Mensah to call for reaction on the findings.
The GNA reporter later called Mr Mensah who said: I am currently on an official duty at Kpetoe in the Volta Region and therefore cannot give you any information concerning the issue now.
When the GNA pressed on for some comments, he said the CEPS investigation team was working on the information “and as soon as we gather more we shall let the media know, bye.”