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23.04.2004 Business & Finance

Gov't Retrieves ¢3bn From Tax Evaders

By Chronicle

The government has recovered over ¢3 billion from tax evaders in Accra through the activities of the anti smuggling task force of the Customs, Exercise and Preventive Service (CEPS).

In an interview with The Chronicle yesterday, Mr. Pius Austin, the Deputy Commissioner of CEPS intimated that report from the force indicates that taxes and duties evaded in the country are considerably high.

He said that the anti smuggling tax force were usually tipped off to arrest unaccustomed goods mainly textiles and cigarettes, adding that this formed part of measures by CEPS to minimize smuggling.

Mr Austin said the board of directors for CEPS, in collaboration with the Finance Ministry had embarked on programmes to equip the service with the necessary tools to fight smuggling.

New pick up vehicles for patrol had been acquired and distributed to the border stations to strengthen the entry points, he stated, adding that the activities of the task force were being reinforced with the budgetary support to enhance their work.

According to Austin, the introduction of the electronic banking system - GCNET - nationwide was a measure to help reduce smuggling to manageable and acceptable levels, adding that. GCNET made operations of the service impersonal.

He said that goods of smugglers were liable to forfeiture and offenders made to pay thrice the tax evaded beside being prosecuted.

He admitted that some CEPS officials collected bribe but said very few may compromise their positions as such.

Mr. Austin admonished the public to refrain from influencing officers.

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