Addressing a news conference in Accra on Friday (September 10 2021), the Executive Secretary of the Association, Mr. Samson Asaki Awingobit described the publication as mischievous and ill-informed explaining that per the standard practice at the Port, no Importers or Exporter can engage in money laundering or tax evasion.
It would be recalled that a few weeks ago a group calling itself Movement for Truth and Accountability (MFTA) an Accra based Pressure Group, accused some Importing Companies for under invoicing, tax evasion and money laundering.
These allegations as carried by WhatsApp News and some news portals according to the Executive Secretary are mere fabrications that lacked merit, intended to create disaffection to the Importing and Exporting Fraternity.
“This misleading information has been compounded with an ill-informed news publication by WHATSUP NEWS, an E-Newspaper which also alleged in its 1st September 2021 edition of fraud on the part of one of the country's largest importers of frozen foods. It is sad to note that this series of misleading reports has done more harm than good to most of these reputable companies that were mentioned in the said report”, Mr. Awingobit stressed that.
Touching on the issue of under-declaration, the Executive Secretary explained that the GRA and the various Banks that transact business with these companies can track any transactions through the Import Declaration Form (IDF) to know if an Importer is under declaring hence the publications and the allegations are untrue and spurious.
“It would also interest you to know that, if an importer pays 2million dollars to his/her supplier for goods, he/she is not bound to receive the said goods at a go. It could take probably a year or the goods may come in tranches even though full payment has already been made and captured in the IDF. This does not mean the said importer is cheating the state or under declaring what he paid for”, Mr. Awingobit emphasized.
On claims of money laundering, he said such claims are false adding that “Per the standard port practices, an importer can receive goods on credit after raising a letter of credit, with his/her supplier giving the said importer a duration of let’s say 90 days to pay back”.
“... Even though the said importer received the said goods on credit without paying a dime, he/she is bound to reimburse the supplier after the sale of the goods. In some instances, the importer could end up paying more for the goods he/she cleared on credit which was captured by the IDF, due to default in the agreed time of payment, or the credit maturing. In this case it would be ill-informed on the part of an individual to assume that an importer is engaging in money laundering because he/ she has paid for goods that are nowhere to be found, even though the said goods had long been cleared on credit”.
The Executive Secretary later touched on claims of some Importers taking undue advantage of tax exemptions and special values as well as supposed GRA Mark Down Value maintaining that, per further checks of the Association, the claims are unfounded.
“Another publication by a E-Newspaper also claimed the Ghana Revenue Authority had granted a markdown of 5 to 10% in benchmark values to an importing company on virtually all frozen foods it imported. Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, this is a misrepresentation of fact spewed out by the said media outlet since the said markdown value was determined by the finance ministry through GRA who had acted in accordance with the 1994 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade GATT”, he noted.
The Executive Secretary therefore urged all the general public to treat with disdain and contempt all the allegations and claims by the news portals adding that as far their concerned no member of the Association has done something which is contrary to the law. Read Full Story