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GHC 764m Retrieved From Bonded Warehouses In The Country   
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President John Dramani Mahama's Special Operation Unit (SOU), has as at June 3 this year, retrieved a total of GHC 764.4 million Cedis as revenue that was evaded by numerous companies at bonded warehouses in the country.

The retrieval is the second after initially retrieving GHC 320 million in a similar operation in December last year.

Dr Clement Apaak, spokesperson for Unit, who said this in a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Tuesday, attributed the success of the operation to discipline on operational matters, strict confidentiality, involvement of the Criminal Investigation Department, and the investigation and prosecution of defaulters.

President John Dramani Mahama on November 1, 2012 established the SOU under the leadership of Mr Prosper Douglas Bani, Chief of Staff as a Presidential Task Force, to among other things, identify leakages and loopholes in the revenue-collection regimes.

It was to also recommend strategies for minimizing revenue losses to the State, stem thefts and insecurity, as well as corrupt practices at the country's Ports and Harbours.

The Unit subsequently identified bonded warehouses as a conduit via which massive fraud was being perpetrated against the State, as the State was in the excess of 367 Million dollars, as import duties owed by companies.

According to a research carried out by Global Financial Integrity, a non-profit organisation, Ghana lost 4.64 billion dollars over the decade ending 2011, due to import under-invoicing, which is 464 million dollars per year on average.

The research also indicated that Ghana's financial losses owing to import tax evasion could even be equated to the amount government received over the years from donor and development partners.
Dr Apaak attributed some of the inequities to delays in honouring tax obligations as some owed government up to about eight years or more, while some officials also refused to use electronic system for payments.

He said the CID in collaboration with the Unit had co-operated in inviting suspected importers who were currently under investigation, while others were on police enquiry bail.

He said one out of the three customs officials have also been interdicted, while many more were yet to be invited.
Source: GNA

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