Executive Secretary of the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Samson Asaki Awingobit, has called on government to consider appointing a seasoned Customs officer to the Ghana Revenue Authority’s Board of Directors.
According to him, the absence of a seasoned Customs officer on the Board has led to some decisions being taken which do not match the operations and procedures of the Customs Division of the GRA.
This, he says, creates many grey areas and loopholes in the administration and operation at the Ports; leading to the festering of corruption there.
Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, he said, “If you look at Customs GRA Board since Mr. Blankson’s time to Kofi Nti’s time, to this Reverend Amishaddai, the Board of Directors – in GRA, they have two divisions; Domestic and Customs division.
“In the Board of Directors, they have never appointed a seasoned Customs officer onto the Board. It has never happened. So sometimes the Board might even take decisions without even having an understanding of how the operations of Customs and procedures are.”
“So I’m saying if government is listening then they need to appoint seasoned Customs officer to be at the Board so that sometimes when the Board wants to take a decision they will ask him of technicalities. You can’t be appointing Boards who do not understand the operations and procedures of Custom,” he added.
His request follows an investigative report released by the Office of the Special Prosecutor earlier this week which revealed that Labianca Group of Companies, a frozen foods company owned by a member of the Council of State, Eunice Jacqueline Buah Asomah-Hinneh had a shortfall in import duties in excess of over a million Ghana cedis.
The OSP contended that Ms Asomah-Hinneh used her position as a member of the Council of State and member of the Board of Directors of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) to get a favourable decision from the Customs Division.
However, the Customs Division has refuted the Special Prosecutor’s claim against some of its officials in the case of Labianca Company.
The Commissioner of Customs, Col. Kwadwo Damoah (Rtd), who was indicted in the report accused the OSP of malicious intent with the aim to discredit Customs officers.
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