The second batch of Joint Revenue Surveillance Team (JRST) put up by the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), have passed out at a short ceremony after a period of training at the Tema Port.
The task force, which is an initiative of the current Commissioner of Customs Excise and Prevent Service (CEPS), Major-General Carl Modey, was setup to replace the several taskforces that were operating at the Tema Port.
The purpose of the task force is to undertake intelligence-based activities aimed at ensuring accurate targeting of suspected consignments, with the least amount of disruption to the operations of compliant importers.
The first team, which commenced its activities March 15, this year, according to authorities, did worked hard and achieved very enviable record which the new recruits are expected to perform even better.
Members of the team which comprises 14 officials from the Customs Division of GRA, nine from the National Security Council Secretariat, two from Ghana Ports and Habours Authority (GPHA), and another two from the Food and Drugs Board (FDB), will be spread to the three main revenue points in the country.
The three are the Tema Port, Kotoka International Airport (KIA) all in the Greater Accra Region and the Takoradi Habour.
In a dual function of bidding farewell to the pioneers of the JRST and the inducting of the second batch of the team into the operation, Major-General Modey, praised at the first batch whose tenure, he said, a total of 323 declarations were detected with discrepancies resulting in a short collection of GH�750,561.63.
As a result, a penalty of GH� 567, 143.65 was imposed on the short collection, yielding GH�1,317,143.28 to boost the total collection of the Customs Division this year.
�This is a highly commendable achievement considering the very severe logistical constraints under which you operated. I wish, on behalf of all the stakeholders, to congratulate the pioneers JRST for your selfless devotion and dedication to duty which enabled this feat to be achieved�, he said.
He urged the members of the team to work hard to justify their inclusion through personal commitment, dedication and selfless service to enable the country rake in the necessary revenue for developments.
�As a cross-functional, cross-sectoral team, each one of you in the JRST is expected to bring your expertise and experience on board to enhance the operations of the team. �Your performance, attitude, conduct and lifestyles will therefore be closely monitored�, he said.
Whilst encouraging them to do their best of their abilities, Major-General Modey entreated the operatives to be of good behaviour by not taken over the duties of the customs division at the ports, adding that �I do not expect you to be antagonistic to one another. It is my expectation that with each of you doing your duties conscientiously, the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority will achieve and exceed its revenue targets�.
He reminded the team who will be dissolved after a period of time that they do not get too familiar with the environment, to develop new skills to outwit deviate clearing agents who are getting sophisticated by the day.
�Beyond this training programme therefore, you need to sharpen your intelligence and fraud control skills. The diversity of knowledge and experience you are bringing into this team is suggestive that you make a difference. And please don�t let us down.
The National Field Operations Commander of JRST, Colonel Theophilus Tawiah, said the reason behind their decision to change them from time to time is to first bring on board fresh blood into the team and also minimise the risk of the members becoming too familiar with the environment and thereby being compromised.
Considering the intensity of the training giving by seasoned and experienced officers of the customs division and interaction with other high ranking officials like the Executive Secretary of the Narcotics Control Board, he was hopeful that the team will live up to expectation.
The Director General of the Ghana Port and Harbour�s Authority (GPHA), Mr Nestor .P. Galley, said the work of the customs on the country�s ports was very crucial, adding that this pushed his outfit to sponsor the activities of the JRST and assured that his doors would continue to be opened for any assistance and discussions.
He urged the 27-member operative to work hard since their activities will show how much revenue will be generated for the development of the country, adding that nobody from outside the shores of Ghana will do it for them.
Source: Gifty Arthur for The Herald/Ghana
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