Top executives of two companies arrested for tax fraud

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has apprehended two top executives of two companies in the Eastern Region for allegedly producing and distributing products with a falsified and altered excise tax stamp of the authority.

The two were the directors of J. H. Riches Company, situated in Nkurakan and producing and importing schnapps, as well as Ayisaa Herbal Base, based in Nankese and producing Agya Nie Bitters.

The excise tax stamp was designed with digital and other security features in mind, and it is affixed to excisable goods to prove that taxes and duties have been or will be paid, regardless of whether the goods are locally produced or imported.

Mr. Francis Ogoo, Chief Revenue Officer of the Ghana Revenue Authority, explained to Ghana News Agency that Sections 15 and 16 of the Excise Tax Stamp Act, 2013 (Act 873) required every manufacturer or importer of excisable goods to affix the tax stamp on the items before selling them.

He said the expected excise revenue was not realised over the period, prompting a nationwide exercise to make sure that imported and local excisable products had a valid stamp, as well as to prevent illicit trading, smuggling, and counterfeiting of excisable products.

The national exercise was also designed to monitor under-declaration of goods to shore up the country’s tax revenue.

Mr. Ogoo explained that prior to the unrealized projected revenue throughout the years, the GRA began a countrywide effort to check and guarantee that the correct things were being done.

Following the exercise, he said the team noticed that certain excisable products had been forged and had changed stamps, while others did not have the stamp at all on the market and were seized in Koforidua.

Additional investigation, he added, showed where the two directors of the said companies that manufactured the items were located, leading to their subsequent arrest on Tuesday and a bill being issued to allow the case to proceed in court.

He named some local products without the tax stamp as J. H. Riches Schnapp, Agya Nie bitters, Lawson De-Ray Man bitters, and foreign goods such as J. H. Henkes Schnapp, canned cokes, whiskey, champagne, and red wine, among others.

He urged the public to assist GRA revenue mobilisation efforts by downloading the GRA Tax Stamp Authenticator App from the Google Play Store, which can be used to assess whether a product has a valid tax stamp and report when the stamps are invalid.

He also said the app allows users to check the validity of excisable product tax stamps on goods such as alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, and other tobacco products, as well as bottled water that is locally produced or imported.

Source: GNA

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