The Chamber of Automobile Dealership Ghana (CADEG) is seeking to find clarity on the exact point an imported vehicle is described to be ‘stolen’.
Addressing the press during a maiden stakeholder meeting in Accra, the Secretary of CADEG, Dumenu George, explained that the move would help address concerns of automobile dealers effectively.
He added that it would also enhance broader engagements with government in formulating policies affecting the used auto industry in Ghana.
“This stakeholder engagement has become imperative due to the recent raid mentioned earlier, subsequent arrest and harassment of some owners of these dealerships. We will like to seek clarity as to what point an imported vehicle is described as ‘stolen’,” he said.
Mr Dumenu George assured the public and government that CADEG is willing to help the Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority(GRA) to clarify certain issues with car acquisition.
In the opinion of CADEG, the issues relate to “the importance of the Bill of Lading (B/L) from the date it was issued thus (loaded on board) till its arrival at the port. The importance of Manifest. Clearance and delivery of used vehicles to our various auto dealerships (garages) and the role of the inspectorate agencies at our various ports of entry”.
Consequently, the CADEG General Secretary indicated that these inspectorate agencies are required to verify all these vehicles, their requisite documents, and approve same before being allowed to pay huge import taxes to the state.
He emphasised that CADEG “seeks to serve as bridge between the used auto industry and government in minimising the claim about stolen cars, if government appreciated their concerns”.
“It then comes as a surprise that these vehicles, after going through all these checks, are now tagged as ‘stolen vehicles’. In our opinion, majority of these cars are actually not stolen cars as it is being alleged. Is it possible that an ordinary Ghanaian importer can outwit the inspectorate agencies of developed countries like the USA and Canada?” he queried.
According to him, the checks and balances in these countries are so strict that an ordinary trader from Ghana does not have the sophistication needed to perpetrate such crime easily.
“We want to get clarity on the foregoing to enable CADEG educate its members, our customers and the general public. This, we believe, will avert such unfortunate incident which occurred on Friday December 9, 2022 from reoccurring,” he added.
Mr Dumenu lamented that this raid had created a huge mistrust between purchasers of used vehicles in their dealings.
“We want to call on stakeholders assembled here to use their good offices to save the situation before it gets out of hand. Indeed, our traders, through no fault of theirs, are only struggling to make a genuine living. Our humble submission here is that the authorities in the USA and Canada, do proper due diligence before allowing shipment of used vehicles out of their jurisdiction,” he suggested.
On December 9, 2022, the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO), in collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), raided a number of used auto dealerships (garages).
They retrieved several imported luxury vehicles suspected to have been stolen from United States of America and Canada.
EOCO, in a statement on December 13 2022, said the various specifications of luxury vehicles were retrieved from some garages in Accra in an intelligence-led operation in tandem with the above-mentioned security agencies.