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GRA closes down Tema fishing company for tax evasion

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on Friday sealed off the premises of Unique Concerns Ghana Limited, a fishing company located in the Tema industrial area, for failing to pay custom duty, tax, penalty and interest.
GRA has subsequently issued a Warrant of Distress to the company to collect and recover more than GH¢4.11 million. 

Mr Gershon Akpabli, Principal Revenue Officer of the Debt Management and Compliance Enforcement Unit of GRA told journalists when he led a team of revenue collection officers and security to the area.

The exercise was to enforce GRA’s laws and clamp down on tax defaulters in order to improve revenue collection, recovery and mobilisation.

Given the background on investigative reports on fish imports pertaining to Unique Concerns Ghana Limited, Mr Akpabli said a careful analysis of previous information by the unit established that trade documents used by the company and other fishing companies in clearing some consignments of fish imports were falsified.

He said the investigation also discovered that the company had changed the port of loading from Nouadhibou, Mauritania to read Walvis Bay, Namibia and by that under paid duty and taxes involved.

In view of that, he said, Bivac Ghana Limited was asked to reassess all such transactions to collect the true cost, insurance and freight values that resulted into the underpayment.

As a measure of last resort, Mr Akpabli noted that GRA issued a Warrant of Distress to the company and following it up with several demand notices to redeem itself but to no avail.

Consequently, he said there was the urgent need to seal off the premises of the company and commence investigation into the operations of the company.

He warned importers who falsify customs declaration forms with the intention of reducing duties and taxes to desist from such acts, else “the long arm of the law will deal ruthlessly with any person or group of persons engaged in such fraudulent act against the state without fear or favour”.

Mr Muhammadu Muzzammils, Location Head of Unique Concerns Ghana Limited, said the company had been in operation for about 15 years and that there were over 945 tonnes of assorted fish, chicken and meat in stock.
GNA