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24.10.2002 General News

Dont publish ¢5.7b sugar scandal - Customs boss

By Crusading Guide
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The Commissioner for Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) recently pleaded with The Crusading Guide not to publish the story about his “secret release” of 10,000 bags of sugar supposed to be auctioned to defray a company’s (Tondi Ghana) indebtedness to generate revenue for the State.

He also told the paper’s reporter that he was going to give him some money (undisclosed sum) during the weekend that followed the time of a chat with him, adding that the reporter should call him on his phone for a meeting place to be scheduled for the money to be collected. However, the reporter refused the offer and so did not honour the appointment.

When called on phone initially for an appointment to discuss the ¢5.7b sugar scandal, he requested that no recorder be used. The Commissioner on the day of the interview, was virtually on his knees saying that if the story was published it would lead him to the Castle for the President to bark at him.

He stated that the 20,000 bags of sugar left in the Bonded Warehouse, were enough to take care of the debt the company owed the state. “Sir, when you gave the 10,000 bags of sugare to Alhaji Tondi, did you inform the Ministry of Finance (MOF) from where you sought authorisation to auction the 31,000 bags of sugar”? queried the reporter.

“The Ministry was not made aware of it. It was a negotiation between the Service and the customer. He (Alhaji Tondi) is even still pleading for the 20,000 bags of sugar to be released to him,” answered the Commissioner.

He confessed that he indeed met Alhaji Tondi and another NPP top shot in the late hours of the day, for discussions. He admitted that he gave the order for the 10,000 bags to be released, adding that he did not have any idea that Tondi Ghana was a fraudulent company which would give him such a bad deal.

The Crusading Guide picked up signals that when the CEPS Commissioner brokered his deal with Alhaji Tondi the agreement was that, he would pay immediately after the sale, so that the 20,000 bags could be auctioned and the money put together for Osafo-Maafo’s outfit.

“The connection bounced, as the Tondi’s company (Tondi Ghana) failed to fulfil its part of the deal. They could not pay the money as was agreed in their secret evening meeting.

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