By Alfred K Dogbey
Impeccable information picked up by The Herald, indicates that the Special Operations Unit, chaired by the Chief of Staff, Prosper Douglas Banni is expected to swoop on more companies, who have swindled the nation by way of tax evasion.
Although two companies, Top Industries Limited, a member of the Free Zones company and Excellent Company Limited, have been busted by the taskforce and are currently assisting the police with its investigations, sources close to the taskforce has hinted The Herald that there are more of such companies defrauding the state.
According to insiders, in-depth investigations are underway into the activities of these unscrupulous companies by the taskforce led by one Mr. Lodonu from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Police Headquarters and Mr. Alhaji Seidu Iddrisu, a Chief Revenue Officer of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authourity (GRA) to determine the actual amount evaded.
Some of these companies, mostly owned by Indians, Lebanese and other foreign nationals will soon face criminal prosecution for tax evasion.
Meanwhile, some others are cooperating with the Presidential Taskforce, Customs Service and the Police CID and are refunding the huge taxes evaded. So far, nearly GH¢800 million had been refunded, since the taskforce started it work.
The Spokesperson of the Special Operations Unit, Dr. Clement Apaak, told The Herald that last week Wednesday’s operation was only an eyes opener to “demonstrate to those who have had any reason to doubt the authenticity of the work of the taskforce, to see visually and know that the unit means business and is working in the interest of mother Ghana”.
The taskforce, last Wednesday swiftly acted on intelligence and impounded over 560 barrels of alcohol imported by Top Industries Ltd, which it later sells to another company, Excellent Company Limited. Top Industries as a result of this arrangement had defrauded the State to the tune of about GH¢93,978.60 taxes, which the nation should have benefited.
The importers of the alcohol; Top Industries Limited were said to have deceitfully told Customs officials at the time of clearing the goods that the alcohols would be used for printing and manufacturing of other products by their company, but the Indians diverted the alcohol selling it on the open market without paying the requisite tax to the State.
The Excellent Company Ltd, after buying the goods from Top Industries Limited, a Free Zones Company kept the over 560 barrels of the alcohol inside a secret warehouse, owned by the company at Circle, near the Odorna Lorry Station.
The front view of the warehouse had an inscription, ‘Riman’s Cash and Carry’. The premise of the warehouse was strangely quiet with only a security man guarding the place.
More barrels of the alcohol, were discovered both inside and outside of the company at the time the taskforce, together with some selected journalists got to the Tema factory site of Top Industries Ltd, last Wednesday.
Two Indian officials of Top Industries Ltd, as well as an officer of Excellent Company Ltd, who could not grant interview or give their names to the media are currently in the grips of the security services and assisting in investigations.
Briefing the media after the operation, Dr Apaak said “We have apprehended the company officials, investigations have started and they have admitted their wrongdoing. This is to demonstrate to people who had doubts about our work that the task force is up to the task given us by President John Mahama”.
Meanwhile, Dr. Apaak warned other companies in the Free Zones enclave that his outfit is up to the mandate and would descend heavily on offending companies.
He said, when the unit started tracking down fraudulent practices in the bonded warehousing system, people began using the Free Zones system to try to outwit officers of the unit to cheat the State.
The Presidential Staffer, indicated that the unit would continue to work in the interest of the nation to give meaning to the confidence President Mahama had reposed in it.
He said what the unit was doing should not be misconstrued as an attempt to kill local industries, adding, “We must know that there are laws in this country and no one is above the law.”