As part of measures to clamp down on the abuse of transit and re-exportation regimes, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) will from 1st December, 2018 require Duty Free Shops in the country to pay customs duties and taxes at the time of importation and apply for a refund. The GRA will also monitor the operations of the Duty Free Shops and subject them to a comprehensive audit according to the Commissioner General of the authority, Mr Emmanuel Kofi Nti.
These remarks were made during a press briefing at the GRA Head office in Accra to parade four persons arrested by officers of the Customs Division of the GRA for diverting goods from a free zone enclave meant for exportation to Paga. The four suspects were Samuel Kwame Agbah a worker at COMET, Seth Nyarko of Magnate Technology, John Tetteh the driver of the truck with registration number GT 5160-12 and Daniel Owusu, the mate.
Mr Nti explained that Ken Freight Logistics, a licensed Customs House Agent, acting on behalf of COMET Ghana Limited, a registered Free Zones Operator with registration number F003, lodged a declaration with number 92018485497 in Ghana Customs Management System (GCMS) to export 3000 cartons of assorted wine to Paga. The cartons were made up of 2000 cartons (12 bottles of 1 litre) of Don Garcia and 1000 cartons of Don Simon wine valued at GHC 139,359.98, which he said was to attract a liability of GHC88,957.47.
The goods were released on 8th November 2018 by Resident Officer, Revenue Assistant 1, Anthony Ahadzi after the said Free Zone Declaration had gone through compliance on November 6th 2018 with car number GT 5160-12 driven by John Tetteh. The truck was mounted with an E-TRACK DEVICE 612788 allegedly fixed by technicians of Magnate Technology Limited.
However, according to Mr Nti, on the 9th of November 2018 the consignment released for export to Paga the previous day had been diverted and was being discharged at Nungua. The four suspects were apprehended by customs officials after Samuel Agbah tried to bribe the team with GHC 2000.00. The suspects will be processed for court.
He said that the GRA is investigating how the suspects opened the seal while the truck has been detained for re-examination and for proper re-assessment. An examination of GCNET's systems has revealed that from the 1st of September 2018 to date, 39 (thirty nine) shipments have been done by COMET Limited, which, according to Mr Nti, will be subjected to further investigations.
"It has always been our suspicion that the regime was being abused" Mr Nti stated, adding that "all Duty Free Shops are going to be subjected to a comprehensive audit. Mr Nti emphasized that the authority will use all legal means to achieve the 2018 revenue target and will, therefore, remove all obstacles militating this objective.
Mr. Isaac Crentsil, Commissioner, Customs Division appealed to the general public to volunteer information to assist the GRA. He said that these illegal activities are a hindrance to revenue mobilization which is having an effect on the economy.