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Customs Division Destroys Seized Tobacco Products in Tamale

The Ghana Revenue Authority’s Customs Division has carried out the destruction of seized tobacco products from Pulmakom in the Upper East Region. These products, which entered the country illegally, evaded taxes, leading to significant revenue losses.

Working in collaboration with the military command and other security agencies, the GRA’s Customs Division convened in Tamale for the destruction process. Dozens of boxes of tobacco, originally stored in a warehouse in Pulmakom, were confiscated due to tax evasion charges, as they were not intended for the country.

Georgina Lamisi Tibanye, the Sector Commander of the Customs Division responsible for the Northern and North East Regions, explained that intelligence gathered on September 5th, 2023, led to the identification of the warehouse in the Upper East Region. A team was then formed to address the situation.

However, transporting the seized tobacco products to the warehouse for further action presented challenges due to unsafe conditions on the ground and the risk of potential attacks. As a result, more tobacco products remain in the warehouse awaiting further action.

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The seized tobacco products included 60.9 million sticks of illicit cigarettes. Additionally, Tamale collection independently arrested 162 boxes of cigarettes. Madam Georgina Lamisi Tibanye highlighted that before the Pulmakom operation, a few other items, including drugs and pornographic materials, were also impounded and will be destroyed.

Despite the perpetrators escaping upon the team’s arrival, ongoing investigations aim to bring them to justice. Madam Georgina Lamisi Tibanye expressed the difficulty in making arrests in such cases due to the carriers’ negligence regarding the transported products.

The economic impact of the seized tobacco products was significant, with GRA incurring tax losses amounting to GHC 7,951,238.39. Madam Georgina Lamisi Tibanye also highlighted the billions of cedis lost nationally due to tax evasion, emphasizing the detrimental effects on the country’s finances.

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