Executive Secretary of the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, has reacted to the dismissal of the Commissioner of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Colonel Kwadwo Damoah.
The Presidency in a release directed the Commissioner of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority to hand over his duties.
In response, Mr Samson Asaki Awingobit stated that with the removal of Col Damoah from office, there will be a leadership gap at the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority.
This, according to him, is due to the fact that, when Col Damoah took office he made a significnt difference in revenue generation for the country.
“ ….. at this point in time with their head who has been asked to go home, I do not know who is going to take up the seat and who is going to speak to this seat, who will be able to rally men and women around to be able to meet target and even exceed target that they were looking for the state.”
JoyNews/AdomNews · With Col Damoah gone, I do not know who will rally men around to meet target – Awongobit
Speaking in an interview on JoyNews’ Top Story on August 29, 2022, Mr. Awingobit said although President Akufo-Addo has the authority to appoint and dismiss “where was he when his [Col Damoah] contract expired in October 2021.”
He questioned if the President is aware that Col Damoah has been in office for the past year although his contract has expired.
“ …Col Damoah’s legal contract which appointed him legally expired on the 13th of October, 2021, according to the letter that was issued on the 26th [August, 2022] and he has been there for the past almost getting to one year without a contract. Not only him, the Commissioner General too his contract was also due as well and he is supposed to go on retirement,” he said.
According to him, if the Presidency has fired Col Damoah, the others whose contracts have expired should follow suit.
Earlier, Mr. Awingobit in interaction on JoyNews’ PM Express called on President Akufo-Addo to consider appointing a seasoned Customs officer to the Ghana Revenue Authority’s Board of Directors.
According to him, the absence of a seasoned Customs officer on the Board has led to some decisions being taken which do not match the operations and procedures of the Customs Division of the GRA.
This, he says, creates many grey areas and loopholes in the administration and operation at the Ports; leading to the festering of corruption there.
He said, “If you look at Customs GRA Board since Mr. Blankson’s time to Kofi Nti’s time, to this Reverend Amishaddai, the Board of Directors – in GRA, they have two divisions; Domestic and Customs division.
“In the Board of Directors, they have never appointed a seasoned Customs officer onto the Board. It has never happened. So sometimes the Board might even take decisions without even having an understanding of how the operations of Customs and procedures are.”
“So I’m saying if government is listening then they need to appoint seasoned Customs officer to be at the Board so that sometimes when the Board wants to take a decision they will ask him of technicalities. You can’t be appointing boards who do not understand the operations and procedures of Custom,” he added.
His request follows an investigative report released by the Office of the Special Prosecutor which revealed that Labianca Group of Companies, a frozen foods company owned by a member of the Council of State, Eunice Jacqueline Buah Asomah-Hinneh had a shortfall in import duties in excess of over a million Ghana cedis.
The OSP contended that Ms Asomah-Hinneh used her position as a member of the Council of State and member of the Board of Directors of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) to get a favourable decision from the Customs Division.
However, the Customs Division has refuted the Special Prosecutor’s claim against some of its officials in the case of Labianca Company.