1,200 importers engaging in shady deals -Group
A pressure group calling itself Movement for Truth and Accountability (MFTA) claims 1,200 companies are allegedly engaged in various nefarious activities of money laundering, under-invoicing and tax evasion to hurt the country’s development.
The alleged tax invasion and its associated crimes are being perpetuated by companies that are into importation of automobile, spare parts, lorry tyres, air conditions, mobile phones and electronic and electrical equipment.
Some of the companies also import mineral water, mobile phones, agrochemicals, alcoholic beverages and frozen foods such as chicken, fish and turkey. According to the MFTA Convener, Joseph Bediako, the illegal practices had led to the country losing money running into billions of dollars.
Addressing a news conference in Accra yesterday, he alleged that the said companies were being backed by well-known figures in the public sphere, such as Council of State members, ministers and members of Parliament, media practitioners, religious leaders, business tycoon and senior officer of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
Mr Bediako’s greatest worry was that the supervisory authorities like the Ministry of Finance, GRA and Bank of Ghana (BoG) are doing practically nothing to save the situation from going from bad to worse.
The MFTA Convener said his outfit, after realising how the country’s import industry was being messed up, prompted the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) and the GRA in letters dated August 6 and December 4, 2020, for them to take action.
In these letters addressed to GRA and FIC, he said the MFTA requested an investigation to be launched into some companies he did not mention for under-declaring their imports far below US$42,100,000.00, US$19,925,255.00 and US$16,178,875.00.
Worriedly he said “we currently have at our disposal the total amount of money each of these companies involved requested, and total import of some of them, and the findings are staggering. Some imported goods over 70% less than the amount transferred outside.”
Mr Bediako added that while these acts were affecting the country’s finances and development, the supervising authorities were busy indicting the Ghanaian companies against their foreign counterparts committing same alleged crime. He also alleged that although the current leadership at the GRA was trying to fix the problem, some of these companies were bent on paying bribes to cover up.
“We want to send this message across; as a Movement, we will not allow foreign companies to be left off the hook, and Ghanaian companies indicted. We have details of every single company involved, and will not rest until all involved are made to account to the state the needed penalty paid in full,” he cautioned.
A meeting also arranged between the FIC and the Movement, relating to the issues, was concealed for the reason that a committee had been set up to investigate that matter.
This reporter also followed up the issue and contacted the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the FIC, Kweku Dua, who confirmed that a committee – made of representation from FIC, GRA and Economic Organised Crime Office (EOCO) – had been established to go into the matter.