President John Dramani Mahama’s Special Operation Unit has as at June 3, retrieved a total GH¢ 764.4 million as revenues that were evaded by numerous companies at bonded warehouses.
The retrieval is the second after initially retrieving GH¢ 320 million in a similar operation in December last year.
Dr Clement Apaak, Spokesperson for Unit who said this in a statement in Accra on Tuesday attributed the success of the operation to discipline on operational matters, confidentiality, involvement of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and investigations and prosecution of defaulters.
President Mahama on November 1, 2012 established the Special Operations Unit under the leadership of Mr Prosper Douglas Bani, Chief of Staff as a Presidential Taskforce to among other things; identify leakages and loopholes in the revenue collection regimes.
They were to 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 which massive fraud was being perpetrated against the state as Ghana was in the excess of 367 million dollars as import duties companies owed.
According to a research carried out by Global Financial Integrity, a non profit organisation, Ghana lost $ 4.64 billion over the decade ending 2011 due to import under-invoicing, which is $ 464 million 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 months or more, while some officials also refused to use electronic system for payments.
He said the CID in collaboration with the Unit had cooperated in inviting suspected importers who are currently under investigations, while others are on police enquiry bail. He said one out of the three customs officials have also been interdicted, while many more are yet to be invited.