Chief of Staff sets Customs ablaze

General News of Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Source: The Herald

Chief Of Staff Prosper Bani

The Customs Exercise and Preventive Service (CEPS) has been set ablaze by the Chief of Staff, Prosper Bani, with his recently announced changes at the state revenue collector under the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

The respective changes, which did not only take immediate effect, saw the historic recall of two ex-officers, Charles Nene Sabblah and Kingsley Kit-Laryea, from their early retirement, and subsequently promoted far above their former superior officers, who are still in active service.

The Herald, is also informed that the Chief of Staff, who is quoted in the media to have made the announcement through a statement, did not consult the management, as well as the governing board of the Ghana Revenue Authority.

Apart from the two officers, one Comfort Osafo Boahene, who has also attained the retiring age, has also been promoted as a Commissioner of Customs, soon after she handed over her position to her assistant by name Akwasi Asante Gyimah.

According to media reports, both Charles Nene Sabblah and Kingsley Kit-Laryea, who were Assistant Commissioner and Chief Tax Collector respectively, and had retired at the legally mandated age of 60, have both been promoted to a higher rank of Deputy Commissioners in-charge of Capacity Building, after their recall.

What is more interesting is that, under the Customs hierarchy, there is no position like a Deputy Commissioner- Capacity Building, meaning the retired officers were getting preferential treatment from the seat of government, The Flagstaff House.

The move is also said to be unconstitutional, according to legal officers at Customs. They argued that the two retired officers remain the oldest officers serving Customs far above the legally mandated retiring age of 60. It is also said to contravene the GRA Act 2009 (Act 791), which rebels against appointment of people above 60 years.

Additionally, the Financial Administration Act 2003 (Act 654), with respect to the institution’s payroll is also being breached by the Chief of Staff.

Most officers at Customs could not comprehend the motive and motivation of the Chief of Staff, Prosper Bani, in bringing back Kingsley Kit-Laryea and Charles Nene Sabblah, and promoting them to Deputy Commissioners.

Media reports have said that President John Mahama has made changes in the leadership of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) as per a statement signed by Chief of Staff Prosper Bani, which said that the respective changes were to take immediate effect.

The names and ranks were given as; Humphrey Otu promoted to Commissioner, Tony Doku, promoted to Deputy Commissioner, Comfort Osafo Boahene, elevated to Commissioner while Akwasi Asante Gyimah, is now Deputy Commissioner DTRD.

Charles Nene Sabblah and Kingsley Kit-Laryea have been made Deputy Commissioners in-charge of Capacity Building, Frank Jones Abban, made Deputy Commissioner, and Daniel Tetteh, Assistant Commissioner.

Molly Awadzi, P.N. Afotey Annang, and Malik Mahama, have all been promoted to the rank of Chief Collector.

Insiders could not appreciate the preferential treatment being given to the three officers by the Flagstaff House, especially so, when there are competent and energetic officers who could occupy the various positions and help raise revenue into state coffers.

The officers, who are obviously angry, lamented over the overbearing interference of the Chief of Staff, Prosper Bani, in the administration of the Customs.

They argued that the Chief of Staff’s attitude is damping morale at CEPS, and called on President John Mahama to keep an eye on him, especially so when revenue collection from CEPS is not encouraging, compared to other institutions under the GRA.

The Ministry of the Finance and Economic Planning has also been linked to the illegal promotions, but The Herald is still investigating.

Attempt to reach the governing board and the management of the GRA for response, did not yield any result.

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