The Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet) a company that ostensibly should help in trade facilitation at Ghana’s Ports has dominated front pages of local news papers from the wrong reasons and despite a huge public relation role out plan by the company, it is yet to convince the public and stakeholders that all is well.
The complaint of the frequent breakdown of the GCNet system at the ports is not as alarming as an incident in which investigations confirmed that a senior staff member of the GCNet was involved in the fraudulent manipulation of the system to assist an importer evade payment of requisite duty and taxes to customs.
In other jurisdictions where trade facilitation is an issue of priority to governments, a company that engages in such mal practice would have lost the credibility to continue to do business with government.
The Customs, Excise & Preventive Services (CEPS) had to write to the International Police Organization requesting for assistance to arrest the GCNet worker behind the fraudulent act.
The letter, signed by Nana Egyin Buadu for the CEPS Commissioner read:
“Mr. Elliot Ansah is an employee of GCNet Company
Preliminary investigation by CEPS Investigations department has confirmed the involvement of Mr. Ansah in fraudulent manipulation of GCNet System to assist an importer to evade payment of requisite duty/taxes to Customs.
“Reliable source has revealed that Mr. Ansah has resigned from his workplace and he is likely to travel to the United Kingdom any moment from today, 3rd September, 2010.
We would be most grateful if you could assist to apprehend Mr. Ansah in his attempt to abscond.
“Please find a photograph of Mr. Elliot Ansah as a guide.”
The PUBLISHER recalls that stinking saga and reproduces below the complete and unedited letter from GCNet confirming the fraudulent practice and admitting it was done by one of its workers.
MALPRACTICES IN GCNet/GCMS OPERATIONS
Further to your letter dated 6th September, 2010 on the above subject, we have identified a breach of the system in respect of the entries noted in your letter.
From the system logs reviewed so far, the breach is suspected to involve a GCNet employee, (Elliot Ansah) who resigned from the Company with effect from 6thSeptember, 2010 and carried these breaches in the period leading up to his departure from the Company.
Fortunately, in view of the multiple integrity layers in the system, data on the respective transactions are still available in the system, even where attempts were made to tamper with the transaction details. As a result, outstanding duty and tax payments due from Declarants on these transactions are still available. In this regard, we wish to emphasize that no data has been lost in spite of the attempted manipulation.
To review this breach and to take safeguard measures against its possible recurrence, we have engaged the services of an external systems security specialist from the United Kingdom to review all system logs and to assess the extent of the attempted breach. These details will be made available to you once our internal investigations are comleted.
Although the former employee is believed to haev travelled to the United Kingdom, we wish to assure you that GCNet is prepared to pursue all available avenues to bring him back to the country to help with the investigations.
We also wish to assure you that GCNet is ready to collaborate with the investigations and to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book. In pursuit of this, we have taken the liberty to invite the Serious Fraud Office to assist with the investigations in view of the implications of the malpractice and the likely collusion with some Customs Officers, Importers and / or Declarants.
We trust that collectively we can expeditiously address this breach.