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Opinions of Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

“Burgers” & Ghanaian Importers Swindled Big Time at Tema & Takoradi Harbours

When at all will the swindling at the Ghana harbours, Tema and Takoradi, by the custom officers, cease, queries Elizabeth Basoah, a Ghanaian residing in Paris? She finds it difficult to comprehend why until today, effective structures and policies have not been put in place by the successive Ghanaian governments to curtail or stop completely, the custom officers from blatantly abusively exploiting Ghanaian importers? The custom and immigration officers at the mentioned ports are living in affluence through acts of what one may justifiably call daylight robbery. Within a year of a custom officer being posted or reassigned to any of these two harbours, especially Tema harbour, he or she builds a mansion and has their bank account bulging with quick buck (fast buck).



What is quick or fast buck? Quick buck is "Money gotten quickly, esp. without too fine a concern for ethics or the future" and Fast buck is "money made easily or quickly and sometimes unscrupulously". They are both the same and one thing anyway.



Even the late President Mills bemoaned the lack of integrity, lack of patriotism, lack of professionalism and work ethic by these officers working at the ports. He chastised them for robbing importers to enrich themselves at the blink of the eye. He queried, how can a custom officer at the rate of their official salary build the types of extremely expensive mansions they put up within two or three years working at the ports?



Elizabeth phoned in to a Ghanaian-operated FM station based in New York about the ongoing abuses of power through corruption and utter thievery by the custom officers. As soon as she had made her views clear, someone who claimed to be calling from the Ghana Embassy/High Commission (either the Consular officer or a staff of the Ghana Embassy) in the USA chipped in with his suggestion.



He said before any Ghanaian resident abroad ("burger") ships anything to Ghana, especially cars (vehicles); they had better contact the Ghana embassy or High Commission for details of the duties they will be paying. He said all the embassies have got a list of the duties one expects to pay and by first contacting them, those exporting cars and other materials home will not stand the risk of being duped by the unscrupulous custom officers.



If this is true, Elizabeth rather wants the details published on the harbours website if they have any, to avoid the custom and immigration officers duping importers through charging heavy or unreasonable duties which give cause to certain importers entering into deals with the officers. If it does happen, the only beneficiary is the custom officer but neither the importer nor the government. At times, the duty charged is so heavy that the goods of the importer ends up being impounded for failing to pay the demanded import duty.



This reminds me of the dubious confiscation agenda masterminded by Alex Segbefia and executed by that thief, Carl Wilson.



Adding a voice to Elizabeth's, I shall recommend a radical view that will compel the governments to sit up to come out with polices beneficial to both the importers and the government. Closed-circuit television cameras are to be deployed in all areas of the harbours where money transactions and other such relevant activities take place. They are to be manned not by Ghanaians but Whites. White pensioners can be employed at relatively cheaper price to assist us with the manning of our harbour duties.



All these failing, "burgers" should stop sending things home through the harbours for about six months. This will force the governments to do the right thing quickly or else, the insatiably greedy custom officers will continue to live off your sweat, ignorance, etc.



Rockson Adofo