The Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority is expected to destroy over 1000 pieces of imported used mattresses this week.
This follows successful burning of about 150 pieces of the seized mattresses on Tuesday at Kpone here in the Greater Accra region.
Seizure and further destruction of the mattresses is in line with Legislative Instrument 1580 which came into effect in 1994, prohibiting importation of such items.
It took Customs about six months to seize these used mattresses imported.
According to Customs, the law prohibits importation of used sanitary wares, mattresses and other clothes in commercial quantity.
Chief Revenue Officer of State Warehouse at Tema Port, Lawerence Anang said offenders turn blind eyes to the existence of the law.
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“When it comes to items under restriction, that one you can secure permit from the regulatory bodies and claim them but when we say an item is prohibited, there is no option than to destroy it”, he said.
An individual can, however, clear about five pieces of mattresses for personal use, through the right process.
Lawerence Anang bemoans the lack of interest shown by stakeholders such as importers and manufacturers in GRA educational reforms.
“Beneficiaries do not attend such programmes meant to equip them. For instance, there is a concession we give to local manufacturers. However, they don’t attend programmes in line with such concessions despite the money we spend in organizing these programmes”, he revealed.
Apart from the prohibition, he said some importers divert such goods which are cleared for transit.
“The law permits transit but some importers after going through the process including getting a bank to guarantee this transaction end up diverting the goods. The intention of the importer will not be known until he or she is arrested”, Mr. Anang added.
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Meanwhile, Customs said it will deal ruthlessly with officers who connive with such importers to perpetuate this crime.
Offenders who are prosecuted are fined GH¢500.00 or not more than a year imprisonment.
There is a school of thought that the law is not punitive enough in its current state and needs to be repealed.