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How Col Damoah, others allegedly aided importers to evade tax in 2021 says National Security

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Fresh revelations at the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) point to alleged infractions involving the Commissioner of Customs, Col. Kwadwo Damoah (Rtd) and other top officers.

A letter from the National Security dated October 21, 2021, questioned the Customs Division’s conduct during the impounding of some suspicious trucks then.

Deputy National Security Coordinator at the time, Edward Asomani, wrote to the GRA lamenting the conduct.

In the leaked document sighted by Myjoyonline, some trucks loaded with goods were impounded on October 8, last year, after intelligence found that the items had not been described appropriately.

“Reports indicate that a Customs Intelligence team of the Customs—Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (CD-GRA) led by John Agbawu, with assistance from operatives of the Special Monitoring Team (SMT) of the National Intelligence Bureau, on 08/10/2021, intercepted and arrested two cargo trucks at DZORWULU traffic Light, near Fiesta Royale Hotel in Accra on suspicion of under-declaration and mis description of goods,” it read.

The trucks which entered the country through Aflao were escorted to the Customs Laboratory Division at Airport Roundabout for re-examination.

The further assessment confirmed that many of the goods in the trucks were “undeclared and thus, no duties were paid on same.”

How the officers were directed to release the traders and the goods is what seems to have taken the National Security operatives aback.

Per the letter to the GRA, Edward Asomani explained that “the traders were discourteous towards the arresting officers, with one of them allegedly placing a call to Col. DAMOAH, Commissioner of CD-GRA.”

“Subsequently, AGBAWU received a call from one Kojo BONSU, Staff Officer to the Commissioner, instructing him to release the trucks unconditionally.”

The arresting Customs officer, Mr Agbawu, is said to have “received another call from Adu KYEI, Deputy Commissioner of Operations, CD-GRA who also gave similar instructions.”

“Additionally, the trader who placed the call to Col, DAMOAH recorded the arresting officers on video, to be forwarded to him.”

Essentially, the persons were later released allegedly on the orders of the Commissioner of Customs Division of the GRA, Col. Kwadwo Damoah.

The Division’s top officer is currently at loggerheads with the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) over a report earlier this month which uncovered alleged corruption supervised by the former’s outfit leading to a loss of revenue to the state.

The report, which Col. Damoah says is geared towards tarnishing his image, led to the recovery of ¢1 million in duties shortfall from Labianca CEO, Eunice Jacqueline Buah Asomah-Hinneh over influence-peddling claims.

The report has also triggered a wider probe into activities at the Customs to help plug leakages for which reason the OSP has called for all documents regarding the issuance of rulings and benchmark values applied dating back to 2017.

Mr Kissi Agyebeng has also commenced a full-blown investigation into suspected corruption-related activities in vehicle auction sales and also halted all vehicle auctions until investigations, which span 2017 to date, are over.

But even before the dust settles on these developments, the new letter surfaced.

It was revealed, after the re-examination, that a substantial number of goods in the trucks were undeclared and thus, no duties were paid on same.

The National Security further called on the GRA to commence an investigation into the conduct.

“Given the implications of this development, particularly those related to tax evasion, on the domestic revenue mobilization efforts of GRA, your outfit is urged to investigate the matter and update this Ministry accordingly.”

The letter also demanded that the GRA takes steps “to prevent senior officials from undermining the work of customs officers at the various custom checkpoints across the country.”

How Col Damoah, others allegedly aided importers to evade tax in 2021 says National Security

It is unclear yet the response of the GRA to this said of the letter.

But it comes at a very crucial time when the port has caught the attention of the OSP.

The OSP has already directed the Commissioner of the Customs Division “to produce details regarding the suspected activities before September 30, 2022”.

Source: myjoyonline

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9 killed, several others injured in an accident at Ho

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Officials at the Ho Teaching Hospital said that 32 people were admitted for injuries incurred, with 9 dying as a result of their injuries. Amos Jah, the Public Relations Officer of Ho Teaching Hospital, said that the injured patients are receiving medical attention and making progress in their rehabilitation.

A terrible accident occurred at the base of Galenkui Mountain in Ho, claiming the lives of nine people, including babies.

The terrifying occurrence occurred as a 207 Benz was transporting goods and passengers from Abotoase to Sogakofe.

The car encountered brake failure while descending the mountain, culminating in a collision with a Zoomlion garbage truck.

Initial reports verified seven fatalities at the disaster scene, including newborns and children.

Following that, Mary Dzifa, a nurse at Ho Municipal Hospital, informed Citi News that roughly ten children had died in the disaster.

“I was at our facility yesterday, November 22, when a car rushed in with dead and injured children and injured adults, especially men. Some were attended to at the facility, and the rest who were severely injured were taken to the Ho Teaching Hospital. The dead children will be about 10.”

Officials at the Ho Teaching Hospital said that 32 people were admitted for injuries incurred, with 9 dying as a result of their injuries.

Amos Jah, the Public Relations Officer of Ho Teaching Hospital, said that the injured patients are receiving medical attention and making progress in their rehabilitation.

“I received a call from a friend yesterday who was going back to town and that he saw the accident, so I quickly informed the nurses to be on alert. Some were brought in with pickups, ambulance, tricycles; the situation was very bad, some had broken limbs, some heads almost being severed, some were bleeding from all parts of the body. After two hours, we were able to calm the situation down.”

“We had a total of 30 accident victims brought here. Two others were brought from the Municipal Hospital this morning, making it 32 in all. My information is that we lost 9 of them, 4 are kids and 5 are adults. For the kids, three were brought in dead. Those injured are responding to treatment.”

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This was avoidable – Bonaa on fatal clashes in Nkwanta

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The Oti Regional Security Council (REGSEC) will host an emergency security meeting today, Wednesday, November 22, in response to the Nkwanta riots. Regional Minister Joshua Gmayenaam Makubu, appearing on the Ghana Tonight show on TV3 on Tuesday November 21, verified the number of dead and described the pandemonium as "ethnic clashes."

Dr Adam Bonaa, a security expert, has requested the Oti Regional Minister to restrict all public events in Nkwanta in response to the riots that have taken eight lives.

The fights, in his opinion, were avoidable.

“The Regional Minister and his men must make certain that this never happens again.” This was avoidable, yet 8 people died as a result,” he remarked on TV3’s Ghana Tonight on Tuesday, November 21.

He further suggested that “It is important to suspend all public activities that are likely to take place by the two factions, this is the surest way of letting them know that there is an authority within Nkwanta and the region.”

The Oti Regional Security Council (REGSEC) will host an emergency security meeting today, Wednesday, November 22, in response to the Nkwanta riots.

Regional Minister Joshua Gmayenaam Makubu, appearing on the Ghana Tonight show on TV3 on Tuesday, November 21, verified the number of dead and described the pandemonium as “ethnic clashes.”

“Tomorrow we are going to have an emergency security meeting again, ” he further said.

He also disclosed that there had been conflicts in town two weeks earlier between members of two tribes, Adele and Akyode.

Following the conflicts, the Minister of the Interior, Ambrose Dery, acted on the advice of the REGSEC and via Executive Instrument to impose a curfew on Nkwanta township.

The curfew will be in force from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, November 21.

On Tuesday, November 21, an attacker opened fire in the town’s central market area.

Several people have been murdered and others have been injured as a result of the incident.

The Oti Regional Security Council dispatched officers to the region to handle the situation.

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“Government wishes to appeal to all to exercise restraint and to use the established mechanisms for the resolution of all their conflicts and disputes.

“Meanwhile, the Government will like to reiterate that, there is a ban on all persons in Nkwanta Township and its environs from carrying arms, ammunition or any offensive weapons and any persons found with any arms or ammunition will be arrested and prosecuted,” the Minister said.

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I never indicated my house was sold – Speaker of Parliament

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However, the Lands Commission claimed in a statement that "at no time did the Lands Commission sell the said property to a private developer." However, in a recent meeting with civil society organisations, the Speaker emphasised that his official house was on the verge of being turned over to a developer except for the intervention of the Lands Commission.

Alban Bagbin, the Speaker of Parliament, has categorically rejected selling his official house to a private developer.

He then stated that his home was “almost sold” to a private developer.

The Speaker of Parliament recently revealed that his Accra home was sold to a private developer while he was still living there.

He said this only came to light when the developer went to the Lands Commission to register the land on Monday at the Speaker’s Breakfast Forum in Accra.

However, the Lands Commission claimed in a statement that “at no time did the Lands Commission sell the said property to a private developer.”

In a recent meeting with civil society organisations, the Speaker emphasised that his official house was on the verge of being turned over to a developer except for the intervention of the Lands Commission.

“I didn’t say my residence was sold. That was not what I said. This was just a comment in passing when I said it was almost sold but luckily, I was in possession. And I said it was when they went to Lands Commission that they realised from the search that it was the residence of the Speaker,” Alban Bagbin clarified.

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