General News Tue, 1 Jun 2010

GCNET Manager Caught Red-Handed!

…as he illegally removes tracking system to divert raw materials for ‘apio’

By Livingstone Pay Charlie

A senior Manager of GCNet, Ibrahim Bingle, has been caught diverting 33,000 litres of ethyl alcohol labeled as ‘transit goods’!

Ibrahim Bingle, who is manager at the Tema Transit yard removed the tracking device number 2109 on a truck with registration, GW 2435 P which was intended to police the movement of the goods to their destination in Burkina Faso where it will report back to Customs officers for final computation of liable duties. A letter dated 20th May, 2010 by Deputy Commissioner of CEPS Mr. E.S. Ackwerh named the GCNet Manager as the one who conducted this criminal operation. The letter, which was addressed to the General Manager of GCNet for action is still pending and action is yet to be taken.

As a result of official cover up which looms large, Mr. Bingle continues to swagger about as a free man. The consignment in question was labeled with declaration number 82009067302 and dated 27th February 2009 for one Sanouna Bagagnan. The clearing agent was Adjoelaz Minns Limited at Tema. According to CEPS investigations, the tracking device was removed from the truck before it left the Transit yard on 28th January, 2010.

The CEPS letter recounting the incident stated that the “…allegation was that the device was removed by Mr. Ibrahim Bingle ostensibly to prevent the consignment from being monitored so that it could be diverted without detection.” It further revealed that “the allegation becomes more credible when it was established that the same consignee and declarant was involved in the diversion of an earlier consignment of the same product on Declaration number 82009068265. Indications picked up by The Republic point to the fact that CEPS is on the heels of this consignee to pay the full taxes with penalty. Though GCNet operations are plagued with fraud, its management used treachery and subterfuge to rail-road the Mills government for a contract to do valuation at the ports. GCNet’s new software, Ghana Customs Management System (GCMS) was manufactured to suit trade conditions in 1994, six years before the Kyoto Convention which specified a new kind of software hence its rejection in 2006 by CEPS.

The GCMS valuation module was designed in Mauritius and thus designed to suit trade in that country only. It means that GCNet has not got the right to alter any aspect of it for valuation purposes. According to CEPS, the software was tested in 2006 but it woefully failed, justifying government’s decision to finance officials to India and Dubai in search of new software compatible with modern trade transactions as required by the revised Kyoto Convention. The Ghana Revenue Authority, GRA, has also tested the GCMS and found that it could not stop revenue leakage at the ports. The software is so porous that clearing agents and importers take advantage of it to migrate from one Destination Inspection Company to the other where documents are forged to obtain ridiculously lower values without being noticed.

In a strongly-worded response to the Presidency and the Finance Ministry, the GRA demanded an immediate withdrawal of the directive for the GCMS software to be used.

CEPS, key implementers in any revenue policy have also kicked against the directive. There is a looming mass protest in a few days time against the decision to allow GCNet to deploy its obsolete software to do valuation at the ports. As at the time of going to press yesterday, news filtering in indicates that some revenue experts were feverishly preparing to go to court over what they described as an illegal contract to GCNet. The experts argue that an already acquired software at tax payers’ expense by CEPS is capable of plugging the loopholes rather than the G-CNet software.

Stay tuned!