GhanaWeb TV



Why are Ghanaian 'burgers' often treated cruelly at the Ghana ports?

Video Archive
Sun, 14 Nov 2021 Source: Rockson Adofo

This publication is for the attention of the government, especially the president of Ghana, and the intention of all Ghanaians living abroad.

Ghanaians living abroad have always been the shoulder that Ghanaian political parties in opposition cry on.

However, once they are elected into power, they begin to treat the very “burgers” who had not long ago been their helper and hope, with utter disdain.

They treat them as though, they had never known them. They behave as if the financial, moral and physical support offered them by the “burgers” in their greatest time of need had played no significant role in their success of regaining power. Such is how ungrateful the Ghanaian politician is, and will forever be.

They suffer from the chronic disease of “short memory”, or what may best be described as political dementia hence always biting the very hand that not long ago fed them. However, it is said, “do not bite the hand that feeds or fed you”

If they were to have a long memory to recognise the significance of the Ghanaian “burgers” to the economic development and nation-building of Ghana, I hope they will treat us with much respect as it is deserved. Ghanaians residing abroad, otherwise called “burgers”, have constantly been making medical, monetary and material remittances home to support their families, friends and needy persons, let alone, the financial assistance offered to the political parties when they are in opposition, and come to overseas soliciting alms from the “burgers”.

Their remittances alone help to alleviate the government of the needless headaches it will have encountered in providing for most of the needs of the citizenry. Such provisions are taken care of by the “burgers” as it is obvious and acknowledged by the successive governments.

Why then is it that some of the “burgers”, or in general some Ghanaian importers of goods into the country are oftentimes treated cruelly by the agents of government working at the various ports?

Their goods shipped or imported into the country are probably intentionally overtaxed such that they may not be able to clear them from the ports. The goods are then finally allegedly auctioned off.

Let me pause a second to define AUCTION as in the dictionary. Auction, also called “Public sale” is defined as “a publicly held sale at which property or goods are sold to the highest bidder” or “a public sale of goods or property, especially one in which prospective purchasers bid against each other until the highest price is reached”

Do the imported or shipped into Ghana goods by “burgers” or importers that end up being seized and sold off through alleged auction, normally follow auction sales procedures? No!!! They are simply given to the party members of the ruling government at a fraction of the value of the goods or even the duty the very owners of such auctioned items were required to pay.

Why should that happen to people who by their hard work and sweat such items were purchased and shipped to Ghana? The very people helping to ease the financial pressure on the government and have helped the government in many ways through the payment of import duties and others as stated above are openly swindled, and being treated like nobodies.

What has happened to the Belgium “burger” in the video below is not the only one of its kind. It has been happening to many people since 1992 to date, yet, none of the successive governments has been able to implement any serious measures to rid the country of such deliberate rip-offs of Ghanaian “burgers” or importers.

It has been getting worse since the late President Professor Evans Fiifi Atta Mills’ era where one Carl Wilson was employed by Alex Segbefia, then Deputy Chief of Staff, to be in charge of the ports. Carl Wilson ended up impounding almost all the luxury cars imported into the country by importers or shipped into the country by Ghanaian “burgers” through the same overcharged but difficult to afford import duties.

Where the importers are unable to pay, their goods are seized and given to party members in camouflaged auction sales which never get published.

It became conspicuous under former President John Dramani Mahama where his wife Lordina was alleged to be removing some of the impounded cars and distributing them among her favourites and NDC members.

They intentionally go to the ports, check the cars just arrived in the country and point to those that they want, it is alleged. The custom officers in charge then deliberately work out exorbitant import duties on such cars which are often out of reach of the owners. This is done with the ulterior motive of having the cars impounded for the use of the party members. The cars may be sold to them cheaply, oftentimes, a tenth (1/10) of the purchase price or 20% of the duty payment asked from the real owner of the car.

The same thing has been happening under the presidency of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and it is proven by the video above.

When will this clear daylight robbery of Ghanaian “burgers” or importers cease? Which government will be able to stop it to give importers, or the “burgers”, the expected decency and right of possession of their goods for them to be able to enjoy the fruits of their sweat and labour?

Not wishing to mention any name because of the fear of political cost to the individual, I will advise that whoever has got his “boys” at the ports and are deeply involved in such and other malpractices had better call them to order. I often hear people mention a particular name and link it to the “boys” who are collusively brazenly performing such reprehensible acts at the ports.

Would His Excellency the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Inspector General of Police Dr Dampare and the person in charge of Ghana Customs, cause investigations into the reported case by the Belgium “burger” in the video? What has happened to him is not right! It is pure robbery visited upon him. If he has indeed paid for the transit fee for the car or the goods to be sent to Burkina Faso and the money accepted by the Customs Office, why should his goods be auctioned off at a fraction of the duty he was required to pay and without his knowledge?

I am concerned about the fate of all those that have been swindled by some crooks in the various governments as hereby mentioned. What I don’t know is whether it is the secret policy of the various governments to reward their party members through these illegal seizures of imported goods or else, the rate of their occurrence without ceasing, shocking as they are, will never happen.

It is said that when you come across somebody with an animal sitting on him or her, tell the animal to get off you (you as in plural) but not to get off him or her. The belief is, once the animal leaves him or her, there is the probability that you will be the next person it will come to sit on or attack.

The above is better explained by Martin Niemoller,” a decorated U-boat captain in the First World War but subsequently became a minister of religion and a relatively high profile opponent of the Nazis as they increasingly gained firm hold of the reins to power in Germany”. He said,

“First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a communist;

Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist;

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist;

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew;

Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me”.

To conclude, I will advise Ghanaian “burgers” to unite to condemn in no small terms the reprehensible ongoing swindling of “burgers” at the Ghanaian ports and if possible, call for a six-month moratorium on shipment of goods into Ghana by “burgers”. Until the governments see how you can unite to deal them a blow through non-shipment of goods into the country for some time, they will continue to dupe you.

Once, about twelve years ago, now a Member of Parliament told me about his brother’s solution to solving the rife corruption and illegal practices going on at the Ghana harbours that deprive the government of the needed revenue but enrich corrupt customs officers. He mentioned his other policy for solving Ghana’s national poverty if he ever became the president of Ghana.

Those policies or solutions he mentioned to me still sound credible. President Nana Akufo-Addo has been implementing one of such policies which is adding value to our raw materials through industrialisation.

I shall be back.

Whoever comes across this publication should please forward it to the attention of the President, the IGP, and all relevant bodies, for these blatant daylight robberies at the ports must cease immediately!

Columnist: Rockson Adofo