Manhunt for customs official for deleting records of fraudulent companies

Source: Ghana|Myjoyonline.com| Isaac Essel | isaac.essel@myjoyonline.com
Date: 29-10-2013 Time: 01:10:16:pm

A customs official of the Ghana Revenue Authority is on the run for deleting records and entries of companies that have evaded tax at bonded warehouses.

A presidential task force unit headed by the Chief of Staff Prosper Bani last week uncovered massive fraud being perpetrated on the state by some companies operating in the country.

A document cited by Joy News revealed a number of top companies, including state agencies, did not pay import duties before clearing their goods from bonded warehouses.

Joy News has learnt that the customs official, who is suspected to have assisted these companies to defraud the state, tried to delete the companies’ records on the database used for tax collection at Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet) - GCNet operates an electronic system for processing trade and customs documents in Ghana.

Presidential Staffer, Clement Apaak, who speaks for the taskforce, confirmed to Joy News on Tuesday that the said officer is "on the run".

He said the customs official who had access to GCNet database was "vigorously engaged in the practice of deleting" details of companies.

Mr Apaak said the official absconded because he read in between the lines that he would "be picked up" by the taskforce.

Nevertheless, he assured that the security agencies are on the heels of the runaway customs official.

Touching on steps being taken to recover  the taxes owed the state, Mr Apaak claimed the Ministry of Finance is "in the process of opening a special account" by the end of the week  so that companies involved would pay directly into the account.

Some companies cited by the taskforce have denied any wrongdoing and have been asked to submit receipt to prove their innocence. However, only one company has so far brought a receipt which authenticity is being scrutinised, Mr Apaak disclosed.

Other companies, he said, have come forward to express their willingness to pay the amount owed to redeem their age.

Earlier in an interview with Joy News, Mr Clement Apaak said government is treating the matter very seriously.

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