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13.05.2004 Business & Finance

CEPS impounds 120 vehicles

By GNA

Accra, May 12, GNA - The Anti-Smuggling Task Force of the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) between January and April 2004 impounded 120 vehicles smuggled into the country.

Twenty vehicles were impounded in January; 24 in February; 26 in March and 50 in April, Assistant Commissioner of CEPS, Pius Alfred Austin, told Journalists at monthly press briefing on Wednesday. He said the owners of the impounded vehicles would be liable to between 100 per cent and 300 per cent penalty of duty and tax invaded. "Owners, who refused to pay the penalty would have their vehicles confiscated to the State."

Mr Austin said the Service had observed that some unscrupulous persons were using many tricks to avoid paying lawful duties on imported cars adding that some of the unaccustomed vehicles, mainly saloon cars and articulated trucks, came in along unapproved routes across the Eastern and Western borders.

He said some of the smugglers fixed unserviceable accident vehicle registration numbers on the smuggled vehicles and falsified CEPS documents.

Mr Austin noted the chassis numbers of some of the vehicles were tampered with but said CEPS had trained staff to detect the falsification.

Some of the culprits were also abusing the policy under ECOWAS, which allowed citizens of member states to travel with their vehicles within the Sub-Region by registering their unaccustomed vehicle. Mr Austin said the exercise, which was currently in Accra, would soon be extended to other regions.

Mr Austin warned all prospective car buyers to seek clearance from CEPS.

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