The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service has embarked on extensive investigations to bring to book all the officers of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority who aided 289 importers to dubiously clear their goods worth over 735 million Ghana Cedis from government bonded warehouses without paying anything to the state.
Sources close to the CID have indicated they have obtained and compiling the list of all the officers who manned the various bonded warehouses where the goods were cleared between 2005 through 2012.
According to the sources, the list being compiled will be very comprehensive, and will not only include names of the officers who conspired with the cheating importers to dupe the nation, but also the locations, dates and time the officers manned those locations and when the crimes were committed.
?We will leave no stone unturned, because this crime is huge. We have received phone calls from the public as to what we are doing about the case due to the magnitude of the amount involved?, one of the sources stated.
As soon as the list is compiled all the officers involved will be invited for questioning at the CID headquarters. Those who are found to have played any role in the clearing of the goods from the bonded warehouses through the backdoor will be processed and prosecuted in the law courts.
The CID sources further indicated that their initial investigations have revealed that some of the customs officers who connived with the importers to dupe the state have retired from active service. ?But we will go after them since we want to do everything within our limits to help the government to retrieve the stolen amounts?, one source added.
Meanwhile, I am hearing that the Ministry of Finance is set to establish a Special Account to easily help in the tracking of monies being paid by the cheating importers. All the importers who cleared their goods unlawfully from government bonded warehouses without paying the requisite duties to the state have been given up to the end of November 2013 to pay the amounts in full or face prosecution and penalties.
But following the exposure some of the cheating importers have admitted their guilt and have decided to pay their accumulated duties in full.
We have information that CCTC Ghana Limited which used the backdoor to clear goods worth 20,788,260 Ghana Cedis has decided to pay back the amount in full to avoid prosecution.
Other companies involved in the underhand dealings who have also agreed to pay back the amounts in full to the state coffers are Sucatrade Limited (4,381,940 Ghana Cedis) and Market Direct Limited (68, 976 Ghana Cedis).
It will be recalled that the Special Operations Unit (SOU) under the office of the Chief of Staff through its investigations uncovered massive fraud involving 289 importers who conspired with some customs officials to dupe the nation to the tune of 735 million Ghana Cedis by clearing their imports from government bonded warehouses without paying anything to the state.
The robberies which involves some leading companies in Ghana, ranging from steel companies, auto dealerships, pharmaceuticals, fisheries, supermarkets, telecoms, foods, veneer and plywood, energy, foam, construction, dates back from 2005 to the end of 2012.
Twenty of the companies involved in the crime which is considered one the worst in the country?s history are United Steel Company Limited (172,118,926 Ghana Cedis), Hippo Limited (97,098,942 Ghana Cedis), B 5 Plus Limited (43,694,392 Ghana Cedis), Trusty Foods Limited (41,781,111 Ghana Cedis), Movelle Company Limited (40,978,990 Ghana Cedis), CCTC Ghana Limited (20,788,260 Ghana Cedis), Dry Foods Processing Company Limited (16,429,075 Ghana Cedis), Caitec Delta Limited (14,879,740 Ghana Cedis), Mansell Ghana Limited (13,757,656 Ghana Cedis), Ghana China Foods (12,719,850 Ghana Cedis), Naja David Veneer & Plywood (12,309,882 Ghana Cedis) and Nexans Kabelmetal Limited (12,022,439 Ghana Cedis).
Others are Jaykay Industries & Investments Limited (11,626,080 Ghana Cedis), Britak Steel Complex Limited (10,922,763 Ghana Cedis), United States of America Agency (10,606,898 Ghana Cedis) and Atala Limited (10, 494,324 Ghana Cedis).
The rest are Novel Ghana Limited (9,854,218 Ghana Cedis), Kimexcom Ghana Limited (9,035,638 Ghana Cedis), USAID Ghana (8,471,219 Ghana Cedis), Ghana Electrometer Limited (6,219,340 Ghana Cedis and Sucatrade Limited (4,788,834 Ghana Cedis).