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Customs Division exceeds revenue target

The Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority has raked in revenue in excess of GH¢72 million from January to March, Mr Isaac Apronti, Deputy Commissioner in charge of Policy and Programmes announced at the weekend.

The Commissioner, who is also the Head of Ethics Committee of the Division, failed to disclose the actual target for the period, but stressed that the money was the by-product of increase in import. Mr Apronti added that a boost in the morale of Customs personnel coupled with the decline in reports of malfeasance due to the 93checks and balances" instituted by the Division, were contributory factors. He was speaking at the end of a health walk organised by his outfit to foster cordial relations among the officials and to promote team work in Accra.

It was also created the platform for the personnel to interact with past Commissioners of the Division. Mr Apronti said the Division had experienced a re-awakening after Anas Aremeyaw, an investigative journalist exposed some corrupt officials at the Tema port early this year. He challenged the officials to be self-disciplined and integrity keepers to lift the name of the profession to the highest pedestal. Mr Apronti said the Division had purged itself of accusations of bribery and corruption and was battle-ready to 93box any Anas" that may conduct investigations against the institution. Brigadier General T.E. Nguah (rtd), a former Commissioner of the institution, charged the personnel to be selfless and efficient in their work.

"This job is honourable. Don't do anything that will bring disgrace to yourself and your family," he said.

Brig Gen Nguah expressed worry that there were some "Zacchaeus-like" characters among their ranks and appealed to the officials to work hard to bring fame and commendation to the Division. He explained the term Zachaeus to mean extortionist. Major General Carl Modey, Commissioner, said in spite of some set backs beleaguering the institution, management was committed to regain the dignity and respect of the profession.

He commended the officers for undertaking the health walk and announced that the event would be a quarterly one. Anas Aremeyaw Anas of the New Crusading Guide, a private newspaper, uncovered considerable rot at the Tema Port forcing President John Evans Atta Mills to make an unannounced visit to the Port on Friday, February 4th, 2011, to warn customs officials, port workers and clearing agents against their nefarious activities. President Mills directed that people aspiring to join the Division must be made to declare their assets.

Angered by the nefarious activities of customs and port officials President John Atta Mills cautioned the officials that government would not spare the rod on corrupt officials.

Anas Aremeyaw investigative report titled: "Enemies of the Nation," revealed cases of collusion with auctioneers, bribery of customs officials, and a rift between the Customs Division and the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority over revenue collection. There was also evidence of how some Customs officials engaged in illicit sexual acts with businesswomen with the promise of securing them goods and contracts.

The situation moved the Commissioner of Customs Division to transfer 97 members of staff as part of measures to revamp the Service to make it more responsive and effective.

[Source: GNA, Ghanaweb]