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Crime & Punishment of Thursday, 21 February 2008

Source: GNA

CEPS destroys over 1,189 cartons of cigarettes

Kumasi, Feb 21, GNA- The Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) in Kumasi, on Thursday destroyed over 1,189 cartons of contraband "bond" confiscated cigarettes. The cigarettes, which according to CEPS, were believed to be fake and smuggled from Togo into Ghana, were confiscated during a swoop at warehouse in Asokwa, a suburb of Kumasi. The cigarettes were destroyed by crashing and burial methods, and witnessed by personnel from the Police, Fire Service, Environmental Protection Agency, among others.

Mr. Ken Gbireh, Chief Collector in-charge of preventive at CEPS, affirmed that tobacco generated a lot of revenue for government, and the influx of such smuggled products denied the country of its budgeted revenue.

He said the exercise was aimed at encouraging genuine businesses and to discourage smugglers from having an urge over genuine tax payer. Mr Gbireh also said the exercise was to ensure the removal of fake products from the Ghanaian market, stating that the confiscated cigarettes after examination, contained a lot of impurities that were hazardous to human health.

He said CEPS was obliged to ensure public safety, stressing that companies who evaded taxes discouraged others companies and investors from engaging in genuine transactions.

Mr. Gbireh cited Pioneer Tobacco Company, as an example of one of the biggest companies that relocated to South Africa due to frustrations from other tobacco companies who were not paying tax.

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