Cartels frustrating importers and stealing assets through auctions at the ports – VADUG

The Vehicle and Assets  Dealers Union Ghana (VADUG) has raised concerns over how vehicles which are not cleared within stipulated time at the ports in Ghana are auctioned at prices lower than the import duty and eventually end up in the garages of a cartel.

Frank Atanley Kofigah, General Secretary of VADUG stated on 3FM Sunrise Morning Show on Wednesday August 24 that there is a cartel which includes some customs officials at the harbor who frustrate importers for their own benefits.

VADUG is calling for reforms in how vehicles and other assets are auctioned in Ghana, especially the practice that gives so much discretionary powers to auctioneers.

According to the secretary of the union, some auctioneers behave unprofessional and display blatant disregard for integrity in the conduct of their services.

“At a recent auction in Accra, a vehicle was being auctioned for 5000 cedis but somebody also mentioned an offer of 15,000 cedis but the auctioneer insisted he heard 5100 cedis and then the bell goes” he told host Alfred Ocansey.

He recalled a scenario where his friend imported a 2008 model Toyota Highlander in 2016 had his highlander vehicle stolen after 56 days at the port so they had to flag the chassis number of the vehicle at DVLA just in case it is brought there for registration.

“It will interest you to know that after three weeks this vehicle landed at 37 DVLA office and was about to be registered when my friend was called. Investigation led to the person who actually bought the vehicle and it was a customs officer who leased with somebody to move the vehicle from the port, and the person paid 16,000 cedis for a vehicle whose duty at the time was about 42,000 cedis at the time” Kofigah recounted.

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“We have realized that most of these or sometimes the vehicles end up into a group of cartels who have created a system to frustrate importers” the executive secretary alleged.

The union wants the system or modus operandi of the Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS)reviewed to mend the lapses that allow for unscrupulous elements in the service to frustrate importers and steal their properties under the guise of auction.

He further revealed that even people who buy vehicles that are put on auction are made to pay just a fraction of the original duty the importer was supposed to pay. Mr. Kofigah bemoans the increasingly high cost of charges at the port which sometimes compel importers to abandon their vehicles there because they will incur more losses if they clear them.  

“Some people in the diaspora bring in vehicles to Ghana without knowing the charges and duties later to find out they have to pay as much as three times the price of the vehicle. Instead of paying that duty, they decide to leave the vehicles” Mr. 

By Samuel Afriyie Owusu|3news.com|Ghana