Ghana Customs Busted!
Anyone will tell you, the worst possible experience you are likely to face in Ghana will probably take place during the process of clearing goods at the port. Ghana Customs is swarming with extortionists, agents armed with state issued uniforms and the authority to tax at will. This they do with no heart or feelings, holding your goods ransom while they milk you dry. This would all be hearsay if it were not for the investigative reporting of Anas Aremeyaw Anas, whose life is now in danger after his release of the most convincing footage showing agents on the take. President Attah Mills stormed down to the port raising dust and making mostly empty threats. Although eleven agents were arrested, it is only because they were caught on tape, but the countless many who facilitate these deeds will only endure a short period of scrutiny, until this can all blow over and business can resume as normal. An excerpt Mr. Anas's report tells its best:
Many Ghanaians leave the shores of the land to go and work in foreign lands in order to return someday to build a better life for their kith and kin. These men and women toil in sweatshops and endure harsh conditions in foreign lands just to provide for themselves and their families. They return to Ghana, their homeland, only to have their hopes dashed at the Tema Harbour. Long held dreams are blown apart, as they are not able to get hold of their valuable possessions.
It usually is a tale of toil defeated by treachery, as Ghanaians who return from the Diaspora are always greeted with the grim reality of seeing their hard-earned properties stolen and destroyed by men at the Tema Harbour. When this happens, they are treated by port officials with so much disrespect and heartlessness. It is assumed that these Ghanaians have a lot to spend, little time to stay and fight for their goods. The [goods] are never found, although they spend sums of money in wearisome clearing process. Many are distressed in the process; those who endure usually leave the shores of Ghana with sad songs about their beloved country. It is a disturbing cycle of evil trumping goodwill.
It should be noted that this activity does not only leave us, the powerless importer, at the peril of merciless customs agents, but it denies the nation of much needed taxes. It is endemic and eats like a cancer at the fiber of our country. To correct it would probably mean firing 90% of existing staff or at least jailing 10% and enforcing rule of law. Neither solution is likely to take happen, instead they are planning to install CCTV everywhere, so here is my advice. When importing your goods to Ghana, hire a reputable clearing company, like Compact Ltd, one that is prepared to handle your consignment without requiring your presence at the port. That's how the big wigs do it and they end up paying a whole lot less than you and I who get fleeced at the port. Ghana customs won't dare try their antics with the upper echelon, rather they feed on the poor.
The full report by Anas Aremeyaw Anas: