The Custom Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on Thursday intercepted a large quantity of uncustomed gallons of oil at Techiman in the Brong Ahafo Region.
The 459 gallons of 25-litres each were hidden in the goods compartments of a Bawku – Kumasi bound bus with registration number GN 2460-12.
Officials of the division stationed at the Techiman Barrier became suspicious when the driver sped off after he had been asked to stop.
After a hot chase, the Customs officials caught up with the bus and when an inspection was conducted, the goods were found hidden in various compartments without any tax documents covering them.
Briefing the media about the incident, a Sector Commander of the Customs Division of GRA, Assistant Commissioner Seidu Yakubu expressed concern about recalcitrant traders who had taken advantage of the West African trade protocols to smuggle goods into the country to deny the state of its needed revenue.
He estimated the Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF) of the intercepted gallons of oil at GHȻ39,864 and the tax liability as GHȻ18,119.08.
Mr Yakubu added that management would decide the penalty to be paid by the owner of the goods, explaining that she was expected to pay a maximum of 300 per cent of the tax on the goods.
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Mr Yakubu advised vehicle owners to advise their drivers to refrain from carrying such uncustomed goods since they risk impoundment of their vehicles.
He appealed to Ghanaians to assist officials of the Customs Division of the GRA to arrest people who had made their minds to smuggle goods into the country, adding that “we are ready to go all out to arrest such perpetrators and prosecute them to deter others from committing such crimes against the state”.
Mr Yakubu said it was unfortunate that even some drivers of the Metro Mass Transit, which belongs to the state were using their buses to carry uncustomed goods.
He warned such drivers that they risked losing their jobs as well as facing prosecution caught.
Owner of the goods
For her part, the owner of the goods, 28-year old Ms Hadiza Suala who broke down in tears during questioning said she bought the goods at Windana on the Ghana-Burkina Faso border at a total cost of GHȻ56,000 while the driver charged her GHȻ6,450 to convey them to Kumasi.
When questioned how she managed to outwit security officials, she candidly stated that she paid some monies on the way before she alighted at Techiman for other assignments.
Ms Suala was informed by the driver of the goods after they were intercepted at dawn last Thursday, explaining that she was expecting to make GHȻ3.00 on each of the 25-litre gallons of oil.
Ms Suala explained that the bus set off from Bawku last Sunday, it delayed on the way due to frequent breakdowns.
The driver of the bus, Philip Atta told newsmen that “this is the first time that I have carried edible oil. The other time I conveyed spare parts and motorbikes”.