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27.11.2003 General News

Pastor Conspires With Chinese To Import Fake Textiles

By The Independent
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After weeks of painstaking investigations, The Independent can reveal that the owner of JENTACO Trading Enterprise, Reverend Josephine Anyoko Tawiah, is in league with the Chinese textile smuggler cum importer to swindle Ghana and unsuspecting customers of billions of cedis.

Investigations by The Independent have further revealed that Rev. Tawiah is the Presbyterian Minister in charge of the Mataheko Presbyterian Church.

Unimpeachable source close to JENTACO, the warehouse located at La and which belongs to Rev. Tawiah told this reporter that the Chinese, Hwan Yang Quin, is a regular visitor to the warehouse and supplies them with goods.

Our sources said, “We mostly deal in Auden and hywax prints but we also do send ATL specimen abroad for an imitation and sell as if it is the original ATL.”

According to our sources their textile prints sell at cheaper prices than that of the local textile industries. As such, most Makola women troop there on a daily basis to buy in bulk to sell at the market.

“Some of our goods were seized last week but they were returned to us by the Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) last Friday, our sources disclosed.” This paper also obtained further information that in this instance, CEPS only examined the duty documents, adding that even though one more officer had to examine and sign the documents, the goods were released to JENTACO.

Our sources further said JENTACO sells half a piece of cloth at the warehouse for ¢ 80,000 which is then sold between ¢ 90,000 and ¢ 95,000 by the retailers.

Our sources agreed that their business had the tendency to collapse the local industries due to their cheap prices.

He said “our goods pass through the Lome free port for which we pay import duties to CEPS as expected.”

Reverend Josephine Tawiah when contacted confirmed that she has a business link with the Chinese, Hwang Yang Quin.

She explained that the hullabaloo about the influx of imported textiles on the Ghanaian market began about three years ago when the Managing Director of PRINTEX, Mr. Milan asked her to assist in the arrest of women who displayed uncustomed textiles.

She said the operation was successful and those arrested were sent to the headquarters of the Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) to pay the appropriate custom duties while Milan paid for the hiring of people to effect the arrest.

Reverend Tawiah intimated thus: “After some time I was approached by the Chinese who had by then been sacked from the Ghana Textiles Manufacturing Company (GTMC) and after some negotiations we decided to strike a business deal.”

“As a result the Chinese brought down his first container of textiles and kept them in my warehouse” she added.

“All this while, I was the major customer of GTMC and so when the Managing Director of GTMC got wind of the deal he sent me word that I should not allow anybody to patronise the imported textiles.

But when we flouted his order we were blacklisted by GTMC,” Reverend Tawiah further told The Independent.

The Presbyterian Minister further stated that at a point in time she had to travel to China herself to make arrangement for the importation of textiles and finally managed to become a recognised dealer of a Chinese textile company, which now supplies her with textiles from a Cotonou warehouse till date.

She said prior to all these, the women had protested to the local textiles factories to reduce the prices of their products but all their appeals fell on deaf ears, adding that in addition to herself other Ghanaians receive textiles from China.

On the containers, which were released to her last Friday, Reverend Tawiah said they were seized by the CEPS for verification of duty payment.

She however quickly added, “I do not handle the payment of duties but a clearing agent does that, so what happened was that I asked him to ensure the right thing was done, after which the goods were released to me.”

She denied ever sending any ATL design anywhere for purposes of imitation and confirmed that the containers which were released to her contained Auden, Fence and Rags textile prints.

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