The National Security has impounded two luxurious Mercedes Benz vehicles, with the street value of $3.2 million, allegedly smuggled into the country through the Aflao border.
The two vehicles; Mercedes Benz 300 SL, (white colour) which costs about $1.8 million and Mercedes Benz 190 SL, black [$1.4 million], did not have the required documentation covering their importation into the country, Aflao Sector Commander of the Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Frank Ashong, has confirmed.
The estimated duty to be paid on the said vehicles is GHȻ900,000.
The vehicles were impounded by national security operatives together with officials from the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority on January 10, 2018 at the residence of Ketu South Municipal Chief Executive, Elliot Edem Agbenorwu.
Mr. Agbenorwu, however, has denied knowledge of how the smuggled vehicles got into his residence. He said although the place the vehicles were taken to is his official residence, he does not reside there because it is under renovation.
The MCE said he suspected some people were using the house as a conduit to smuggle vehicles into the country and therefore, alerted the security. It was based on this that the vehicles were impounded, he explained.
The notice of seizure sighted by myjoyonline noted the coupe convertibles were smuggled into the country in contravention of Section 121 of the Customs Act 2015, (Act 891).
According to a source, investigations revealed the vehicles were imported into the country allegedly by a prominent businessman (name withheld) based in Accra.
He is reported to have lied to the officers that one of the vehicles, Mercedes Benz 300 SL, valued at $1.8 million, was to be presented to the President, Nana Akufo-Addo as a gift in order to escape paying duty on the cars.
But his claim was later found to be untrue.
Two brothers, (who are yet to be named), are suspected to have facilitated the smuggling of the vehicles as well as over a hundred Range Rover vehicles, several Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and saloon cars into the country.
According to the source, this has resulted in the loss of revenue to the state to the tune of GHȻ12 million.
According to Customs Act 2015, (Act 891), failure by the importer to produce appropriate documentation covering the vehicles could attract sanctions including: “(i) Forfeiture to the State of the goods in respect of which the offence is committed” and “(ii) A fine of not more than two thousand, five hundred penalty units or a term of imprisonment of not more than five years or both.”
Details of the story are to follow soon.