Business News of 2014-02-21

Customs impounds 16 containers of used fridges

More than 5,000 used fridges of different sizes and shapes imported into the country through the Takoradi Port have been impounded by the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

The banned cargo, which was labelled as household goods and personal effects, is yet to be cleared by the importing company, Richoss Enterprises Limited of Post Office Number 26, Old Tafo, Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.

The importation of used fridges into Ghana is banned. Legislative Instrument (LI) 1932 (2008), which prohibits the importation of old and used fridges, air conditioners, high-energy consuming bulbs, among others, came into effect on January 1, 2013.

The law, passed in 2008, was delayed to enable importers to adjust.

The alleged exporter of the goods, according to Customs, is a UK-based waste management company, Envirocom, which is said to have been paid to destroy the fridges but tried to make extra income by exporting them to developing countries.

Currently, the containers are at the Takoradi Port awaiting evacuation and destruction by the Energy Commission.

Late last year, the same company, Envirocom, was said to have exported 35 40-footer containers of used fridges into the country through the Tema Port, despite the ban.

The consignment, which was confiscated, is awaiting destruction.

Sector

When the Daily Graphic contacted the Takoradi Collection of the Customs Division of the GRA, the Sector Commander, Mr Frederick Gavor, said the division was on the alert and would do everything possible to ensure that none of the fridges reached the market.

“We became suspicious when we detected that all the 16 containers aboard the MSC Anna and the MSC Grace had the description ‘Household goods and personal effects’,” he said.

He said customs officers, therefore, took their time to inspect the type of household goods and personal effects that could be shipped in 16 40-footer containers.

Vigilance

Asked if the importer and the exporter had been contacted, Mr Gavor said the division was aware that Envirocom was the company that shipped the fridges from the UK, while Richoss Enterprises was responsible for importing them into the country but was yet to show up to claim the goods.

He confirmed that last year Envirocom exported 35 containers of used fridges into the country and that they had been confiscated for destruction.

Mr Gavor said Customs officers were on high alert because it was clear that some importers were bent on testing the system, saying, “The law will not be relaxed for such imports.”