A damning investigative report by Joy News has linked a syndicate of car thieves and tax evaders to the Jubilee House-the seat of the Presidency.
The undercover investigation by the Accra-based media conglomerate uncovered how Ghana lost thousands of cedis after confiscated cars were literally gifted to political appointees and thereby circumventing the payment of taxes and duties on those vehicles to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
These vehicles are part of about 151 confiscated cars that the Director of Political Affairs at the Chief of Staff’s Office, Frank Asiedu Bekoe, wrote to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to be allocated to selected beneficiaries.
To put in perspective how much the state has lost from this car dealing syndicate from the Presidency, a 2004 VW Toureg vehicle that should sell for about GHC 70,000 was sold off to one Nii Teiko Tetteh who only paid GHC25,000-the cost of duties only.
The new owner of this confiscated vehicle did not pay taxes to the GRA, not any other fee, Joy News revealed.
Another Vehicle, a plush 2010 Lexus wagon was gifted to one Cecilia Koufie who paid a paltry GHC 30,804 as auction price.
These amounts hardly paid off the duties on the cars while the auction was virtually free.
“Out of the five vehicles samples from the 151 confiscated cars allocated, the state could have lost an estimated duty of GHC 130,000 based on checks from the online platform duty calculator,” the Joy News report narrated.
“This practice…was widespread when we examined all the 151 vehicles the Director of Political Affairs at the Chief Of Staff’s office, Frank Asiedu Bekoe requested to be allocated on the 20th of December 2017.”
One of the letters written by Frank Bekoe to the Commissioner-General of the GRA on December 20, 2017, read: “I hereby write for the consideration of the attached list of vehicles with their chassis numbers to be allocated to the corresponding names. Your usual cooperation in this regard is highly anticipated.”
Mr. Frank Bekoe was a member of the Confiscated Vehicle Committee at the Jubilee House. Interestingly, the GRA insists that members of this committee had no right to be allocating vehicles. Their role is purely to monitor the auction process.
The Auditor-General recently issued a report that showed underhand dealings in the auctioning of confiscated cars from the Tema Port. The report estimated that a whopping GHC 25.5 million was lost to the state from 2015 to 2019.
Incidentally, in September this year, Hajia Fati, a vociferous member of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) raised alarm about how the Chief Of Staff Frema Opare was leading a “family and friends” cartel in sharing confiscated cars meant for auction to “family and friends”.