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20.05.2005 General News

Six Evade ¢2bn Tax

Six clearing agents and importers will face full rigours of the law for evading taxes to the tune of ¢2 billion.

They are Akwasi Addai, Addade Bawuah, Patience Tyerman, Charles Oppong Boateng, Furgusson Ampadu and an agent of Seibane Ltd, a clearing company.

The six imported cars, cartons of leather bags and reefer (refrigerator) containers of frozen fish and meat through the Tema Harbour but have failed to pay the appropriate taxes for the past six months.

The Tema Sector Commander of the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), Assistant Commissioner of CEPS, Mr. Africanus Owusu-Ansah, says the six were assisting the security agencies in their investigations.

According to Mr. Owusu-Ansah, in their bid to evade tax, most clearing agents and importers of goods used various dubious means, such as fake CEPS stamps, to clear their goods, saying the practice cost the nation a lot of revenue.

He says through the vigilance of CEPS officials at the Tema Harbour, the six were arrested for committing various offences, with the latest arrest being effected last Wednesday.

Explaining the modus operandi of the importers, Mr. Owusu-Ansah, says most of them, especially those who brought in cars, classified their imports as being on transit, to be cleared in any of the neighbouring countries, such as Togo.

Goods in transit, he says, do not attract duties but were given official escorts.

He says the practice had not been too effective, because there were times when one officer had to escort about 20 vehicles.

Mr. Owusu-Ansah says CEPS realized that most of such cars in transit do not reach their destinations but found their way into the country with fake registration numbers.

He says CEPS also detected later that most of the documents that were presented for a refund of the monies bore fake CEPS stamps and signatures of escort officials.

According to him luck ran out for two of such importers, Akwasi Addai and Addade Bawuah, when two cargo trucks, a KIA Titan and a Hyundai truck, they claimed were on transit to Burkina Faso through Paga on March 17, 2005 were reported not to have reached their destination.

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