We on the DAYBREAK newspaper are shocked that an officer with a blurred past is now the Deputy Commissioner, Customs Division in charge of Port Operations. This is an officer who had always been involved in various types of Customs offences in the Upper East Region (Bolga Sector), Volta Region (Aflao Sector), Western Region (Takoradi Sector) and Greater Accra Region (Tema Sector).
Professor Adei and Mr. Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah insisted on moving Mr. Felix-Mate-Kodjo to Port Operations just because of their acquaintance and association with the father of Mr. Mate-Kodjo but not based on competence and integrity.
This braggart who says he knows Port Operations better than anybody in Customs today says so because of what he can do to the system. Worse of all, he was part of the technical guys who worked on the UNIPASS/ICUMS system that freight forwarders are complaining about today.
DAYBREAK is informed that his assurance-givers have promised a contract for one-year on 23rd September, 2020 when he turns 60 years, so that he becomes Commissioner of Customs next February.
For us on the DAYBREAK, we are just worried that for someone who can hack into the Ghana Customs Management System (GCMS) is to be made Deputy Commissioner, Port Operations, then UNIPASS/ICUMS, ostensibly because of a relationship and because he was part of the technical crew that worked on it.
For the avoidance of any doubt, DAYBREAK is starting a series of publications on this officer and would cite authorities and official correspondence in GRA on him for all and sundry to appreciate the gargantuan level of dishonesty and hypocrisy that went into his appointment.
Our aim as usual is to bring to light the nauseating acts of corruption, especially in the award of contracts, by all the players involved at the Ministry and Authority level. We shall expose all the individuals behind these acts that insult the very sanctity of GRA and the state.
We wish to start with a letter written on the 18th October 2013 by an officer of the GRA (now retired) on Mate-Kodjo. This retired senior officer is a lawyer by profession and is ready to stand by his letter, its contents and the pieces of evidence that he has in his possession anywhere and, especially, before a Court.
Find the letter below.
RE: STAFF TRANSFERS AND ASSIGNMENT TO ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER POSITIONS IN GRA DATED 24TH AND 27TH SEPTEMBER RESPECTIVELY
I have the honour to humbly react to the above circulars as follows:
That, according to Commissioner-General and Commissioner, my out-of-turn transfer from Takoradi to Tema was based on an allegation that there had been a long standing feud between Mr. Felix Mate-Kodjo and myself at the Customs Division, Takoradi.
I wish to state that there has been no feud between Mr. Mate-Kodjo and myself. The only critical issue which has become the former’s basis for the said allegation is that I have no several occasions brought to light some transactions of his that had resulted in mind-blowing short-collections in revenue.
Mr. Felix Mate-Kodjo, as then Chief Collector in charge of Compliance, engaged in fraudulent practices in the Ghana Customs Management System (GCMS). I detected and reversed some of the transactions, resulting in very handsome returns in terms of revenue. Only God knows the number of such fraudulent transactions that have gone undetected.
- An example of such transactions is the fraud committed on Customs Declaration number 42011419712 For Oceaneering Engineering Limited.
In the FCVR for that declaration, the item, “Buoyancy block” was classified under HS Code 7016900000, which attracted import duty rate of 20% and VAT of 12.5%. Mr. Felix Mate-Kodjo, then as Chief Collector in charge of Compliance, hacked the FCVR menu in the GCMS and fraudulently changed the HS Code, for that item (in FCVR No. WFG11006897) to read 8459100000 with all duty and tax rates of zero (0%), after both of us had determined that the said item was a candidate for HS code 7016900000.
This callous hacking and manipulation of the HS Code within the database of the Customs Management System alone resulted in a revenue loss in excess of (GHȼ 43,841.00)
I recovered this amount as soon as I detected this fraud, seven (7) months after the event.
- I humbly wish to further state that Mr. Felix Mate-Kodjo, as the then Chief Collector/Outdoor, was deeply implicated in the mis-description and attempt to clear a 40 footer container load of furniture (imported from South Africa), through the Takoradi Port with forged invoices. Again, I foiled the release of this consignment. Through effective collaboration with Gateway Services Limited (GSL), I got the original documents from South Africa, on which I relied to confront the fraud. An amount of forty-one thousand, seven hundred and eight Ghana cedis (GHȼ 41,708) was recovered in short collection and penalties. This was in February, 2013 (see Customs Declaration number 42013060225).
- The last straw which broke the camel’s back was his involvement in the fraudulent clearance of frozen meat product from the Takoradi Port, without payment of correct and due duties and taxes, through the use of forged import documents.
When I got the tip off about this transaction, I stopped the consignment from exiting the Port. Through effective collaboration with GSL, we got the original documents.
Mr. Mate-Kodjo came to my office to plead with me to use alternative values, instead of the values on the supplier’s invoice, which had also been accepted by GSL. I tactically declined.
An additional revenue of sixty-four thousand, six hundred and thirty seven Ghana cedis (GHȼ 64,637.00) was recovered in short collection and penalties, (see Declaration Number 42013264477). GSL has dismissed the Takoradi Regional Supervisor for collecting GHȼ 3,000.00 as bribe to facilitate the fraud. The GSL official in Accra who collaborated has also been dismissed.
Because of his deep seated involvement in this deal which nearly resulted in a big disgrace and embarrassment to Customs, Takoradi, Top Management of Takoradi decided to let him stand aside for a while, since he was thought to be fraud-prone and a formidable danger to the revenue. He was shifted to head the Export Seat.
If there should be any “feud”, it is the mirage of a feud which exists only in the mind of Mr. Felix Mate-Kodjo. This is so because my effective GCMS policing endeavours clearly conflict with his personal goals and aspirations.
This is what Mr. Felix Mate-Kodjo has contrived and intentionally misrepresented as a “feud”. Naturally, Mr. Mate-Kodjo would see any revenue protecting enterprise as detrimental to his personal gains, if any, and would stop at nothing to give me a bad name, just to get hanged.
Surprisingly, it was on the basis of this contrived feud, a feud which has not been brought to my attention, let alone investigated, that a purported disciplinary action (transfer) has been taken against me.
It is widely known, in the Takoradi Port, of Mr. Mate-Kodjo’s declaration of me as his sworn enemy, for which reason he will use every connection at his disposal to eliminate me from the system, for exposing his unbridled plundering of the National Revenue. No wonder, he is now bragging around that he has shown me where power lies.
My power comes from my belief in the motto that “truth stands”
I wish to state, with all due respect, that this discretion to transfer me out-of turn has been exercised in a punitive and discriminatory manner. It flouts the Rules of Natural Justice. It also offends Articles 23, 191 and 296 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana. What of the procedure on discipline in the Code of Conduct for Staff, one may ask?
On the basis of my counter-allegations, coupled with the fact that Mr. Felix Mate-Kodjo’s prime allegations had not been investigated prior to the purported disciplinary action (transfer) that has resulted in my humiliation, I respectfully petition against the transfer. I humbly call for a probe into these allegations. I am prepared to face any appropriate sanction should I be found to have breached any rule.
It must be noted that a probe will afford other agencies within the Port of Takoradi who may have other information/grievances an opportunity to be heard. Had a probe been conducted into his prime allegations, such a celebrated danger to the revenue who is believed to wield a formidable influence within the GRA headquarters would not have been glorified, exulted and handsomely rewarded with a lucrative transfer to Aflao as the Second-in-Command.
Consequently, I would not have been punished and humiliated with a transfer to a subordinate position in Tema. To add insult to injury, to spite and cow me into submission and to make me the laughing stock of my subordinate staff, Customs officers who are by far my juniors have been promoted to Assistant Commissioner and Acting Assistant Commissioner positions; the recent one dated 27th September, 2013, allegedly upon approval by a dissolved Board Of Directors of the Ghana Revenue Authority.
I was promoted to the rank of Chief Collector in January, 2001. This was reversed under the President Kuffour Administration, upon accusation that I was sympathetic to a rival political party, and subsequently thrown/transferred out of Accra to the Volta Region.
I was subsequently promoted to the rank of Chief Collector in January, 2005, together with Mr. Davidson Alexander Ewoade, Mrs Angela Joycelyn Owusu, Ms. Rebbeca Asah, Mr. Ernest Kwame Asare, Mr. John Egerton Sackey, Mr. John Baptist Dumbah and Mr. Godwin Attoh.
The following table will illustrate the present state of affairs.
|S/N||NAME||STAFF NO.||DATE O F CHIEF COLL.||PRESENT RANK|
|1||Davidson Alex Ewoade||3620||2005||Asst. Comm.|
|2.||John Baptist Dumbah||1727||2005||Ag. Asst. Comm.|
|3.||Godwin Attoh||3622||2005||Asst. Comm.|
|4.||Melvin Macbruce||2746||2006||Asst. Comm.|
|5.||Mrs. Elizabeth Titi Opare||3043||2006||Asst. Comm.|
|6.||Ebenezer Okroh Akutteh||1267||2006||Ag. Asst. Comm.|
|7.||Andrews A. Aneniba||1503||2006||Ag. Asst. Comm.|
|8.||Richard Patrick Kwaku Yawutse||1274||2006||Asst. Comm.|
|9.||Mark Mawutor Kofi Logo||1545||2006||Ag. Asst. Comm.|
|10.||Isaac Kofi Toffah||1621||2006||Asst. Comm.|
|11.||Benjamin I. Graham||4444||2009||Ag. Asst. Comm.|
|12.||Alfred S. Zibankaara||2014||2009||Asst. Comm.|
It must be noted that serial 11, Benjamin Graham, a metallurgical engineer, was promoted to Principal Collector in 2005, the same date I was promoted to the rank of Chief Collector. He worked under me in Takoradi before being transferred to Headquarters Petroleum Office.
Serial 12, Alfred S. Zibankaara, was also promoted to Principal Collector the same date that I was promoted to the rank of Chief Collector.
I humbly dare to state that none of these appointments has been made in conformity with any known Conditions of Service.
Since this is an obvious case of unfair treatment, I respectfully request that necessary and timeout remedial action be taken to restore me to a position commensurate with reality.
May I take this opportunity to convey to you the assurances of my highest regard.
Stanley Boye-Quaye, ESQ
THE CHIEF OF STAFF
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT