The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has impounded 35 bales of uncustomed wax prints which had been smuggled into the country from Togo.
The goods were impounded by officials of the Customs Preventive Operating Unit (CPU) at Dawhenya in the Ningo-Prampram municipality on September 11, this year.
Customs officials said the tax component and penalties on the goods amounted to GHc73,498.56.
The action comes at a time the textile industry in Ghana is facing competition from cheap wax prints smuggled into the country.
Briefing the Daily Graphic at the Customs Headquarters in Accra yesterday, the Chief Revenue Officer in charge of Communications and Public Affairs at the Customs Division of the GRA, Mr Johnson Menlah Yankey, said the goods were intercepted based on intelligence information.
He said they were on board a Ford bus, with registration number GC 8255-11, heading in the direction of Accra.
On reaching the Customs Patrol Base at Dawhenya, officials signalled the driver to stop, but he sped off, he said.
He said the officers, using an official vehicle, gave the bus a chase, and sensing danger, the bus driver abandoned the vehicle on the outskirts of the town and fled.
According to Mr Yankey, the vehicle was sent to the Customs Headquarters in Accra for re-examination, which revealed that the goods in it were smuggled wax prints.
He warned traders against smuggling, saying the Customs Division was up to the task to bring perpetrators to book.
“We will not sit down for the nation wreckers to deny the government the revenue needed for development,” he said.
He said the smuggling of wax prints into the country could destroy the local textile industry, for which reason the Customs Division would play it hard on smugglers of textiles.
In a related development, the Customs Division of the GRA impounded 101 smuggled vehicles in the Western and the Central regions between January and September this year, reports Dotsey Koblah Aklobortu.
Some of the vehicles have already been gazetted and auctioned, accruing GH¢916,975.83 to the state.
The vehicles were mostly saloon cars, tipper trucks and commercial buses.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic in Takoradi, the Western Regional Commander of Customs, Mr Francis Tanlongo, said all the vehicles were using fake documents.
He asked prospective car buyers to do due diligence before making payment for the vehicles they bought.
“The public should be vigilant; they should not buy vehicles without recourse to the Customs Division of the GRA for verification of documents,” he said.
He said the Custom Division’s intelligence indicated that there were many uncustomed vehicles in the system, hence the need to clamp down on them.
Mr Tanlongo said the surge in vehicle smuggling could be due to the large number of unapproved entry points and the abuse of the ECOWAS protocol on the temporary importation of vehicles.
“Under the ECOWAS protocol for temporary importation of vehicles, people bring in these vehicles and tamper with the chassis numbers and then sell them to unsuspecting buyers,” he said.