The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has seized a substantial quantity of illicit tobacco products valued at GH¢7,951,238.39, which were unlawfully smuggled into the country through unapproved border routes.
The GRA, in a statement issued on Tuesday, said the street value of the confiscated products amounted to GH¢7,951,238.39, and none of the brands seized met the standard requirements mandated by the laws of Ghana, including graphic health warnings, the “For Sale in Ghana” inscription, and Ghana Tax Stamps.
The brands included Oris Double Apple, Business Royals, Gold Seal, Bon, Yes, and Business Kings.
The GRA indicated that the move to seize the products was a crucial step in its continued commitment to tackling the smuggling, importation, and sale of illicit tobacco products, which had been infiltrating the Ghanaian markets.
“All the confiscated products had been illicitly brought into Ghanaian territory. Contravening the Public Health Act, 2012, Act 851, and the Tobacco Control Regulations (TCR), 2016 (L.I. 2247).”
“Section 16 of the TCR states that a person shall not manufacture, import, export, supply, possess, or offer for sale an illicit tobacco or tobacco product”. Furthermore, Section 15 of the Regulations stipulates that “a person shall not manufacture, import, or sell a tobacco or tobacco product unless the product is registered by the Authority,’ in this case, the FDA,” it stated.
It said investigations were ongoing, and it remained committed to identifying and apprehending the individuals responsible for this illicit trade.
“We will collaborate closely with relevant government agencies to ensure the arrest, prosecution, and appropriate sanctions for those involved. Additionally, all seized products will be destroyed by legal protocols.
The GRA also appealed to the public to report any information on warehouses or illicit storage locations meant for hoarding illicit tobacco products to help combat the illegal trade and safeguard the nation’s revenue, as well as protect legitimate businesses.