The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and six others have been sued for allegedly allowing two containers of a private company, Fontanaba Limited, to be ‘fraudulently’ evacuated from the Tema Harbour without due diligence.
The other parties to the suit are Hapag Lloyd Ghana Limited, Otras Freight Forwarding Limited, Col. (Rtd.) Kwadwo Damoa (official of GRA Head Office), Nasta Yahya (Asst. Commissioner GRA Tema),Vespero Furniture (Tema), and Meridian Ports Services (Tema).
In a writ filed on December 2, 2022, at an Accra High Court, the plaintiff company said all the defendants came or acted together by devising unorthodox means to clear the two containers after “extorting money from a non-Ghanaian national or company.”
The writ filed on its behalf by Enso Nyame Ye Chamber in Sunyani in the Bono Region indicated that all the documents including the Bill of Lading, Commercial Invoice, Packing List were all registered in the plaintiff’s name.
“The imported goods were or had Food and Drugs Authority registered name ‘ROYA’, ‘ROYA’ has been registered by the Plaintiff for their exclusive use by the Food and Drugs Authority,” the statement of claim noted.
Plaintiff said on January 25, 2021, one Regina, who described herself as an agent of Vespero Furniture sent an email seeking the consent of the plaintiff’s officials to permit her to amend or alter the documents into the name of Vespero Furniture.
It added that the said request was flatly denied, but Vespero Furniture went ahead to “strangely relate all the defendants, acting in common, and with a view to defrauding the plaintiff, conspired together; and held series of meetings at the GRA’s headquarters in Accra and facilitated the defrauding of the Plaintiff.”
The plaintiff claimed that on January 23, 2021, it wrote to the Commissioner General, Customs Division, Head Office, and warned of the “dire consequences of the intended fraudulent action.”
It asserted that it has a lot of documents to support its claim that the containers were all in the company’s name and has “a good number of GRA – TAX BILL (General)” and especially that of 11th February, 2021 to support its claims.
“The plaintiff continues to receive ‘ICUMS Bill’ Generated On Duty For Imported Oil with one dated August 17, 2021 and the same shall be tendered in Court.
“The Plaintiff sent several warnings to the defendants, especially agents of the first defendant, warning them of the dire consequences of their mischief and diabolical designs. All such warnings were ignored with impunity by the agents of the 1st defendant and the other defendants.”
The plaintiff said on both February 12, 2021 and June 11, 2021, it caused its former counsel to write to the 1st defendant and intimated to seek redress in court, and nothing fruitful came out of the said two letters.
“The Plaintiff has an approval from the Food and Drugs Authority in respect of the imported Sunflower Oil to clear its containers,” it averred, adding “The Plaintiff continues to receive ICUMS bill (generated duty) for oil with the last one dated October 26, 2021 and with an accumulated bill of GH¢82,500.46.”
On December 30, 2020, plaintiff was made to pay an amount of GH¢3,000 to the FDA at the Tema Harbour in respect of the two containers.
The plaintiff alleged that several attempts were frantically made to clear its items but all proved unsuccessful as a result of the fraud carried on by the defendants.
It is unclear if the defendants have been served with the writ.
By Ernest Kofi Adu