Koforidua, Nov. 24, GNA - The Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) has introduced new measures to ensure that stolen vehicles were not dumped on the country and labelled as a destination for stolen cars and insurance fraud within the international community. The Service would also ensure that documents required as evidence of bona fide ownership before vehicles could be cleared from the ports such as certificates of title, origin, retail sales and bills of sales. The Commissioner of CEPS, Major General Robert E. Baiden, announced this at the launching of CEPS Eastern Regional Tax Education Campaign at Koforidua on Wednesday. The campaign is under the theme: "Compliance: a pre-requisite for effective mobilization of customs duties and taxes." Major-Gen. Baiden said with effect from November 21, this year, CEPS had introduced an electronic valuation system as part of the GCNet/GCMS facility, under which the value of an imported used vehicle and the corresponding duty and taxes payable were calculated automatically once the chassis or engine number was captured by the system. He explained that the system would eliminate the delays and drudgery associated with the manual vehicle valuation assessment process and ensure transparency and expedite action on vehicle delivery at the ports. The Commissioner expressed concern that some unscrupulous people still resorted to dubious ways of abusing the Temporary Importation facility by importing vehicles with the connivance of foreign nationals to evade tax payment. Under the facility, Ghanaians resident in ECOWAS countries were allowed to import and re-export their vehicles after a maximum of 90 days however, some of them connive with vehicle dealers by issuing out fake duty and certificates of payment of customs duties to register vehicles without paying the appropriate custom duties on them. Major-Gen. Baiden announced that CEPS had declared war on tax evasion and uncustomed vehicle transaction and therefore, advised the public to contact CEPS officials in the regions or CEPS Headquarters to confirm the genuineness of documents covering vehicles they intended to purchase. He therefore, warned that anyone found in possession of an uncustomed vehicle or with faked documents risked paying all duties and taxes in addition to the penalty or forfeiture of the vehicle. On the war on smuggling, Major-Gen. Baiden announced that in October, CEPS Task Force on the Accra-Ho and Accra-Aflao roads intercepted goods made up of assorted fabrics and food items whose Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) value amounted to over one billion cedis. In addition, was the seizure of 1,368 full pieces of wax prints with CIF value of over 199 million cedis and revenue element of about 82 million cedis, 25 vehicles as well as mobile phones, bicycle spare parts and other merchandise.
The Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Yaw Barimah, in an address read for him, cited various tax evasion practices in the country and asked the management of CEPS to devise measures to plug the loopholes and deal with perpetrators effectively.
He asked the business community to appreciate the efforts of government to facilitate trade and be partners in revenue generation through paying their taxes, duties and obtaining genuine documents. The Koforidua Sector Commander of CEPS, Ms Endurance Moncar, urged people in the Eastern Region to assist the Service with information on smuggling and other tax evasion tendencies and promised that informants would be handsomely rewarded from the proceeds of arrests and their identity undisclosed.
During an open forum, spokespersons for the transport unions and traders expressed concern about alleged extortion by some CEPS and police officers at barriers in the calculation of duties and taxes. On complaints that impounded vehicles were auctioned at lower prices than the duties expected to be paid on them, Major-Gen. Baiden denied the claim and said prices for auctioned vehicles included the duty to be paid and penalty.
The Presiding Member of the New Juaben Municipal Assembly, Odeefour Boadi Asiedu who chaired the function, called on the public to fulfil their tax obligation and expose defaulters to the authorities to help the Government earn enough revenue for development. 24 Nov.05