The Western Region Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) impounded 150 uncustomed vehicles in 2019.
The owners failed to provide the necessary documentations for their vehicles when the cars were confiscated by the Division’s taskforce.
Speaking to 3news.com on the sidelines of an end-of-year programme in Takoradi, Head of the Takoradi Customs Division Assistant Commissioner Francis Tanlongo said the impounded vehicles came through the land frontiers of the country.
“No vehicle can come through the port and be smuggled. We have very stringent methods by which vehicles are cleared. What we have realized is that a vehicle may be in transit to Paga or to Elubo and may be diverted if it is not properly escorted. Again, somebody can bring a vehicle on temporary importation because of the ECOWAS protocol and some of these vehicles find their way onto the Ghanaian market with number plates changed.”
Francis Tanlongo explained that before a car is completely taken over by Customs, the owners are given 30 days to bring all the necessary documents covering the car.
“After the 30 days if the car owner fails then we impound the car and prepare it for auction,” he said.
He entreated anyone desirous of buying a vehicle to be extra vigilant alas they lose the car due to improper documentation.
“If you want to buy a vehicle come to customs for us to do physical examination as well as documentary verification. Somebody just brings you a document and say this car the registration is correct; the registration number may relate to a car that has been registered but it may not be the car. So, when you come, we then go to the chassis number to see whether what is on the paper corresponds to what is on the chassis and in most cases, they fail the test.”
He added: “There is a car smuggling syndicate and the members are able to bring the cars through the porous borders and when they get in-country they manage to get fake number plates to put on them. Others have a means of changing the chassis number. They can use a genuine customs document and scan it and transpose the chassis number on the document and sell to unsuspecting buyers”.
Francis Tanlongo said that along the line the benchmarks were reduced by 50 percent for general goods and 30 percent for vehicles but they were resolute to meet their target for last year.
“The GRA Takoradi Customs Division was able to collect a total of GH¢1,196,985,479.20 in customs duties and petroleum taxes. The total target for import revenue for Takoradi in 2019 was GH¢704.12 million. Out of this, we collected GH¢579.00 million constituting 82 percent achievement”.
He said they were able to do well because “we adopted more stringent strategies like intensifying our patrols and increasing over levels of examination of goods that have landed at the examination and then also ensuring that the bonded ware houses are properly monitored”.
The Sector Commander said his outfit shall continue to intensify their anti-smuggling operations for both goods and vehicles by resourcing the task forces instituted to perform patrol duties.
“We shall impose the maximum penalties on non-compliant importers as contained in Customs Act, (2015) Act 891. We shall also continue to embark on our tax education drive in 2020 to encourage voluntary compliance.”
By Eric Yaw Adjei|3news.com|Ghana