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General News of Thursday, 6 April 2017

Source: Peacefmonline.com

Task Force chases former minister over tax evasion

The National Vehicle Task Force, in collaboration with National Security operatives has uncovered yet another V8 Toyota Land Cruiser at the residence of the former Deputy Minister for Local Government under the erstwhile NDC administration, Emmanuel Kwadwo Agyekum, in the wake of retrieving ‘stolen’ state cars from past government officials.

The V8 vehicle with registration number GR 43-17, was imported into the country from the United Arab Emirates by a Ghanaian- based company; Afro Express Trading Brokerage LLC , on the ticket of Parliament Service/Hon Emmanuel K Agyekum, MP for Nkoranza South Constituency, under the import declaration form No. PCD201610motiidf000011422, dated 19th October 2016, and was exempted from ECOWAS and EDAIF Levies, the New Crusading GUIDE gathered.

The price of the vehicle, in excess of $30,000 payable, and the total duty 99,942.26 ($25,322,99), payable in cedis, according to the Task Force, had been underpaid by virtue of the former deputy minister’s links in government.

Meanwhile, the request for the vehicle’s importation was granted by the Deputy Commissioner of Customs Division, and was exempted from payment of import duty under parliamentary approval letter no. OP/T/R/0017, dated 13/09/2013.

Checks at the Ghana Revenue authority said it received a letter from the Ministry of Finance in October 3rd 2013, approving an application by office of parliament/ Hon Emmanuel K. Agyekum for relief from payment of VAT and NHIL on the Toyota Land Cruiser.

According to a letter signed by K. Gyimah Asante, a Commissioner at the GRA, they verified and confirmed the title of relief from payment of VAT and NHIL at importation on the consignment of the Toyota Land Cruiser as per Bill of Lading Number; AEB/TEMA/16/00069, CHASSIS NUMBER; JTMHV01J1G4192253.

However, although the importer (Hon Kwadwo Agyekum), in a phone interview said his attention was drawn to a provision of section 122 of the customs ACT 2015, (Act 891) relating to goods used contrary to authorized purposes, but National Vehicle Task Force Commander, Nana Dasebre Kwabena Ahenkorah, who doubles as an Assistant Division Officer at the Kotoka International Airport believes the vehicle’s importation was exempted from Tax and other levies only when Hon Kwadwo Agyekum was an MP and that he exhausted such privilege after he exited parliament in 2016.

According to Dasebre Ahenkora, the MP, after his tenure in office ought to have paid the exempted levies, particularly when he intended to use the vehicle for his private activities and not to ran government businesses.

“I want the whole world to know the kind of people who ruled us, poor tax payers bring vehicles into the country and because they cannot finish paying few cedis, the vehicles are seized and auctioned even at cheaper prices, but a whole Member of Parliament who is even in good position to pay is rather using his position to evade taxes at the expense of ordinary Ghanaians”, he alleged.

Former President’s contender, during the National Democratic Congress (NDC) primaries, George Boateng, on his part also said he had drawn the MP’s attention to the situation and its possible repercussions, but was insulted by the MP.