Business News of 2013-12-17

‘Don’t purchase uncustomed vehicles’

The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) in the Volta region has cautioned people to be wary of agents or persons who they deal with in order to avoid the purchase of uncustomed vehicles.

Speaking at a day’s public sensitization forum in Ho, Ebenezer Kenney, a Principal Revenue Officer, said the country loses a lot of revenue through the smuggle of vehicles, which is prevalent in the Volta region because of its proximity to Togo.

“Vehicle importation is a very big area for revenue mobilization, but the challenge is that some citizens do not want to pay what is due to the state. Because Togo operates a free port, some people who purchase vehicles from there smuggle them into the country using unapproved routes, thus denying the country of revenue, he noted.

Mr. Kenney also disclosed that the unscrupulous persons fix fake DVLA registration numbers on the vehicles, which are later sold to the unsuspecting members of the public.

Since the beginning of the year, about 29 uncustomed vehicles have been impounded by the Ho office of the Customs Division through the checkpoints.

Mr. Kenney said penalties imposed on the seized vehicles could be used to purchase new vehicles and advised the public to scrutinize and forward documents on the vehicles to the Customs Division before any payment.

William Apeadu, Chief Revenue Officer of the Custom Division, dispelled the notion that confiscated items were shared among customs officials.

Persons, whose vehicles are impounded, for instance, have a stipulated 30-day period to pay the appropriate import duties in addition to penalty.

However, in default, the vehicles are listed for auctioning in accordance with the law or allocated to interested persons based on the value determined by the Vehicles Allocation Committee.

The participants therefore called for transparency in the auction of seized vehicles, saying it was unfair for vehicles seized in the Volta Region, for instance, to be sold in Accra.

Such practice, according to them, does not encourage cooperation from stakeholders to help tackle the smuggling of vehicles.