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GRA Interdicts Customs Officers

Owing to the loss of $3.5 million revenue to the state, three freight forwarding companies have been banned from transacting business on the Ghana Customs Management System (GCMS).

Some Customs officers have also been interdicted by the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

The three companies are Hendrick Shipping Company Ltd, Springfield Shipping Company Ltd and Christeri Shipping Company Ltd.

They were said to have been caught in acts of diversion of re-exportation of goods at the Akanu Border Post.

The companies diverted goods supposed to be re-exported through Akanu to Togo and back to Ghana in collusion with some GRA officers which led the state to lose revenue of $3, 551,559.68.

GRA, in a statement, which was copied to DAILY GUIDE, called on the public not to transact business with the companies.

According to the GRA, the case has been handed over to the Economic and Organised Crime Unit (EOCO) for further investigation.

In addition, the GRA said it would retrieve the money from the importers.

Also, Customs officers who allegedly conspired with the companies to defraud the state have also been interdicted pending further investigation and sanctions.

“The GRA officers who colluded with the companies have been interdicted pending further investigations. The GRA wishes to assure the public that the necessary disciplinary measure would be taken against the officers upon completion of the investigations,” the statement said.

Prior to that, the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority revoked the operating licences of 20 freight forwarders for falsifying documents.

They also said to have under-declared the values presented to customs for duty and tax purposes.

Out of 20 freight forwarders sanctioned, 13 are said to have diverted transit goods, while seven are being punished for falsifying documents from India.

According to a public notice issued by the GRA, efforts are underway to retrieve all the revenue.

Recently, six freight forwarder companies lost their licences after they allegedly engaged in some malpractices that cost the state about $384,754.83 in revenue in August this year.

The affected companies- Nasowah Enterprise, Abacus Digital Media Limited, Wayglow Enterprise, Fantega Company Limited, Too Smatt Enterprise and Dovis Clearing House Limited-would be served with notification to that effect today.

The falsified values were presented to Customs for duty and tax purposes.

Companies involved in the illegal acts were Tobinco, Wimped Co. Limited, Open Heaven Manufacturing & Co. Ltd and Royal Gold.

Some individual importers, including Kwame Okyere, Faustina Osei Opoku and Justina Kuma, also benefitted from the deal.

Goods cleared in the dubious transaction include sardines, pharmaceuticals, safety matches and sillon manganese.

The alleged malpractices were detected through data sourced from the Indian Customs Electronic Commerce/Electronic Data interchange (EC/EDI) Gateway (ICEGATE) platform.

The ICEGATE platform provides the opportunity for Customs Division of GRA to share information with its India counterpart on electronic filing of the bill of entry (import goods declaration), shipping bills (export goods declaration) and related messages.

Source: Daily Guide

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