Two persons have been arrested for various malfeasances in the implementation of the digital excise tax stamps introduced by the government to pluck loopholes in revenue mobilisation arising from illicit trade in the country.
According to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), the two persons, whose names are yet to be given, are being held for investigations and would soon be put before court for prosecution. All the products involved, which belong to GIHOC, have also been seized.
The excise tax stamps are small stickers with various security features supplied by government to some manufacturers and importers at no cost to be affixed to their products before they are released onto the market.
Technical Advisor to the Commissioner General of the GRA, Akwasi Yankyera, who announced at the 4th CEOs’ Breakfast Meeting on the theme Implementation of Tax Stamp Policy: Perspectives, Benefits and Experiences, vowed the Authority have adopted various measures to ensure the successful implementation of the tax stamp to address the issue of revenue losses in excise tax in the country.
[caption id="attachment_103129" align="aligncenter" width="960"] Some participants at the event organised by the GIPC[/caption]
The event, organised by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra, created a platform for industry to have frank discussions on the implementation of the tax stamp policy.
In the first incident, the suspect diverted genuine tax stamp he received and affixed them on some products of GIHOC when he was not the manufacturer of the said products, Mr. Yankyera said.
“Just about two weeks ago we had reports that involved GIHOC…We went there, we realise that somebody who has been given genuine stamps had affixed these stamps on GIHOC products; he is not the producer. Through our tracking and tracing we managed to know the person who collected these stamps. We seized the goods. I’m now happy to say the man is now in custody. He is being processed for court,” Mr. Yankyera said.
[caption id="attachment_103130" align="aligncenter" width="960"] Mr. Yankyera[/caption]
Describing the incident as “just the tip of the iceberg,” the technical advisor said another person who printed counterfeits of the stamp was also arrested and will be prosecuted soon.
“We also had an instance where somebody tried to test the system by producing fake stamps and we also got the person,” he said, and warned that anyone caught in such malfeasances will not be spared, stating “If you indulge in such practices, all the goods involved will be seized and you yourself will also be prosecuted”.
He said the GRA have a monitoring and enforcement team which goes round to test the genuineness of the excise stamps, indicating the law gives the Authority the right to take action to prevent malfeasances in the implementation of the excise tax stamp.