This, according to him will reduce the spate at which some unscrupulous clearing agents mislead their clients under false pretense.
Speaking in an exclusive interview on “Eye On Port”, a port band maritime flagship program aired on Metro TV on Sundays at 5:30pm and GTV on Mondays 6:30pm, Mr Bakufan said dealing with the agencies will also ensure easy resolutions of concerns raised by importers.
He said it is very difficult to identify individual agents who defraud importers for punitive measures to be taken against them.
“Because importers are not proactive they are just creating room for clearing agents to dupe them,” he said.
He advised importers who are dissatisfied about the services provided by their clearing agents to report them to Customs.
According to him, “Customs monitors the activities of the clearing agents, hence, would be able to bring uncooperative clearing agents to book.”
Mr.Bakufanurged importers not to rely solely on their clearing agents since they have the opportunity to walk into the offices of Customs to seek advice on any matter which is of interest to them.
He also entreated importers to demand Customs declarations from their agents in order for them to know the exact amount payable as duties.
“With this you can use the declaration number to cross-check from Customs before you effect any payments,” he observed.
Mr. Bakufan’s advice comes on the heels of reports by several importers who claim they have been ill advised by their agents.
Meanwhile, a Canadian based Ghanaian, Samuel Mawulawoe who imported a Nissan Maxima 3.5lts into the country but failed to meet the 60days clearance period is blaming his clearing agent for the confiscation of the car.
According to Mr. Mawulawoe he imported a Nissan Maxima 3.5ltrs car on July 20th, 2015 but his clearing agent deceived him and now he cannot find his car.
Speaking in an interview on the “Eye On Port”, he said his agent failed to make available to him the original documents needed to facilitate the clearance of the car.
He accused the agent of showing little commitment, hence, leading to the confiscation of the car.
At a point, Mr. Mawulawoe said he had to threaten the agent before he released the original documents of the Nissan Maxima car.
“The agent refused to cooperate with me and even denied me access to the documents on the car. So I was surprised that one can how can pay for something without taking receipt,” he said.
But speaking on the same platform, the clearing agent, Seth Klokpah blamed the importer, Samuel Mawulamoe for the seizure of the vehicle.
According to Seth, the importer asked him to abandon the car because he could not raise the needed amount of GH¢27,000 to pay for the duties of the car.
He said he constantly gave the importer up to date information to keep him abreast of the state of his car, contrary to claims by the importer that the agent was not cooperating with him.
“We use to talk on phone and I make sure I tell him anything he has to know especially where the process has gotten to. So it cannot be true that I don’t give him feedback,” the clearing agent said.
Mr. Klokpah also noted that if Mr. Mawulawoe had contacted him prior to importing the car, it wouldn’t have been confiscated because he would have been better informed.
“He was supposed to have called and found out how much duty he is to pay before importing the car. If he had done that this problem will not have happened,” he said.
Meanwhile, a brother to the importer Haruna Iddrisu said it cannot be possible that Mr. Mawulawoe asked the agent to abandon the car because he was doing all he could to raise the monies to pay off the duties.
“I don’t think my brother will ask him to abandon this car because this car is like my brother’s blood and he was doing all he can to send money for clearance. So how can someone who has sent money for the clearance of the car turn round and say leave the car for government,” he said.
HarunaIddrisu said the car wouldn’t have been confiscated by the state if the clearing agent had acted swiftly on behalf of his client.
Both the agent and the importer said they have learnt their lessons and promised to do the right thing when importing items into the country.
Eye on Port can confirm that one company whose name we will withhold cleared the car with a declaration number 42016046898.
In a related development, Francis Dunyo, an importer of a Toyota Highlander 2008 model which was confiscated and subsequently allocated to someone else because he could not clear the car within the stipulated 60 days required for the clearance of cars in the Port is beaming with joy.
Few weeks ago, Francis Dunyo reported to “Eye On Port” that he imported a Toyota Highlander into Ghana but was misled by his clearing agent and abandoned the car in the Port for over four months hence was subsequently seized.
He said he petitioned the Commissioner of the Customs division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, and the Chairman of the Vehicle Allocation Committee at the Flagstaff House after which some arrangement was made by the Authorities to secure his vehicle back while paying the penalty for it.
“I went to them and they were very helpful they opened their doors to me and in fact they are gentlemen who lived to their expectation in the delivery of their duties. They gave me a lot of encouragement and support and I was pleased with them,” he said.
According to him, he has learnt his lessons with regards to the processes one needs to follow in order to clear his or her imported items at the ports of the country even though he broke the law.
He said it was not in the interest of the Customs division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to take
He urged the general public not to hesitate to seek any information from the Ghana Revenue Authority, Customs division who were very willing to assist him.
He said it wasn’t enough for importers to rely on agents since they can crosscheck every information at the customs office.