Dabala, Ghana – The Eastern Corridor Monitoring Team of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has taken action against smuggling activities at the country's porous borders, resulting in the impoundment of a significant quantity of imitation wax prints and mobile phones concealed in assorted merchandise.
In a recent operation, the team discovered and seized 11,200 full pieces of imitation wax prints concealed in a 40-footer container. The declared value for these prints was 1.3 million cedis. However, the importer had declared only 98 full pieces, leading to a duty payment of 24,000 cedis for both the prints and assorted goods.
Senior Revenue Officer Dari Abdallah, in charge of the Eastern Corridor Monitoring Team, explained that the hidden wax prints came to light when officers at the Dabala checkpoint insisted on a thorough inspection of the goods.
Abdallah noted the challenges faced by customs officials due to the sophistication of smugglers and their use of various routes, including the Volta River. He stated, “Normally they bring the goods in smaller quantities. Now they have loading points and use different routes, especially the Volta River.”
While the team was unloading the goods for examination, the owner of the merchandise admitted to concealing wax prints beneath the goods. The owner initially offered to pay a penalty but at a lower rate than the 100 percent demanded by Customs. Subsequently, the owner sought to petition the commissioner, but the decision had already been made to transfer the goods to Accra due to the serious nature of the infractions.
Emmanuel Parker, Second in Command at Aflao Collection, emphasized the challenges posed by the influx of smuggled goods due to the vast and porous borders. He underscored the need for more resources and personnel to address the issue effectively.
“We are aware they come in with small pieces and pay. But anytime we do an arrest, we realize that they would have gone to load more,” Parker stated. “We need logistics. We need more personnel because the borders are vast and porous. And when we close one side, another portion is open. Before we know it, a lot of goods have come through.”
The GRA previously announced that effective October, textiles entering the country's markets must bear an excise tax stamp to protect the local textile industry from potential collapse.
In addition to the seizure of wax prints, the team also confiscated 6,000 mobile phones concealed within assorted merchandise in a separate operation.