The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority has debunked assertions that containers can be stolen at the Ports of Ghana.
This follows an assertion by an aggrieved importer in an interview with Kofi TV that his container has been stolen at the Tema port, even though he had paid duties twice.
But speaking on Eye on Port, the Chief Revenue Officer in Charge of State Warehouse at the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Mr. George Tettey rejected the claim of the importer, stating that it is virtually impossible for containers to be stolen at the Port under such circumstances described by the importer.
According to him, robust and rigorous procedures are deployed at the country’s ports by his outfit in collaboration with key institutions, hence, making it impossible for such an attempt to be feasible.
“We have Customs Preventive presence at that terminal, we have GPHA security presence at that terminal so to say that containers get stolen at the port it is just below belt,” he said.
He said while he empathizes with the said importer and many others in similar predicaments, the reporter's assertions are a clear indication of a lack of proper understanding of customs processes and regulations.
The Customs Official revealed that the importer in question like many others forfeited his goods after non- payment of duties within the stipulated 21 days’ grace period given for general goods for clearance in section 53 of the Customs Act 891.
“Many importers think that because vehicles are given 60 days to sit at the Port, all other goods also have 60 days and that is not the case,” he said.
George Tettey, who is also a lawyer advised importers to become conversant with Section 53 of the Customs Act 891 in order not to suffer its negative consequences.
The importer also said he had been given an auctions’ chit from someone in an attempt to retrieve his confiscated cargo.
But, the Chief Revenue Officer revealed that such practice of acquiring auction chits anywhere aside the assigned Customs Head Office is not acceptable in customs regulations and that could lead to falling prey to fraud.
“The only place one can obtain an auction chit is from the auction department at the Customs head office and it is only one person, for now, who issues the chit and signs it,” he explained.
The Chief Revenue Officer advised the said importer to write to the Commissioner General of his predicament to see what could be salvaged from his situation.