Business News of Monday, 10 July 2017
President Akufo-Addo’s government is about to make the biggest mistake in its first six months in power as the THE NEW CRUSADING GUIDE newspaper has gathered that government is at the final stages of discussions to offer Cotecna, an attention-grabbing Swiss company that provides Testing Inspection and Certificate (TIC) services a juicy contract at the ports.
The contract is aimed at sealing the revenue leakages at the ports which West Blue Consulting and GCNet are already working at.
However, government’s engagement with Cotecna, one of the DIC’s whose contract was not renewed will rather open the floodgate of illegal trade at Ghana’s port and cause the country to lose millions of dollars and respect in the eyes of the international community.
This is because the company has a certain reputation across the globe, earning barrage of fraud-related news stories and investigations in several of the countries it has operated.
Though Cotecna has denied wrong doings in all the instances it had been accused or even some of its workers investigated over fraud related allegations, the government of Ghana may have a herculean task convincing stakeholder and the public that there is a crucial necessity to offer the company a new contract at the country’s ports and revenue points.
The information that Cotecna is lobbying to start operations in Ghana has raised eyebrows and ignited silent grumblings and murmurings among key revenue stakeholders who have told THE NEW CRUSADING GUIDE that it would be superfluous to contract a new company in addition to the work being done by the Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet).
The paper has it that Cotecna is lobbying to position itself in a way that it would take over the operations of GCNet and take some of the duties of West Blue Consulting.
The company is expected to undertake its operations in Ghana with support from Nick Danso’s Ghana Link which has no experience whatsoever in Single Window Operations.
THE NEW CRUSADING GUIDE has it that some greedy persons in government and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) who are likely to pocket huge sums of Dollars when the contract go through are lobbying for Cotecna.
Fraud Case Against Cotecna
THE DAILY STAR of Bangladesh reported in 2008 that the system for pre-shipment inspection (PSI) of imports had become riddled with corruption, and plagued by tax dodging and money laundering, depriving the country of huge amounts of revenue to an extent that the sheer scale of the abuse forced the National Board of Revenue (NBR) to cancel the license of PSI company Cotecna Inspection SA.
“It is not the first time Cotecna has run into problems with the NBR, which has already issued several warnings to the company and dealt out several crore taka worth of fines following probes into the Swiss group’s operations. Indeed the National Coordination Committee against Grievous Offences asked the Central Intelligence Cell of NBR to take legal action against Cotecna for its alleged illegal activities back in December last year.
“However, the stern action of today mocked NBR’s decision to award about 50 percent import areas to a relatively inexperienced company like Cotecna that has no offices in many of the main cities in countries of the blocks assigned to it– a major qualification for the PSI job.
“NBR turned to the PSI system against a backdrop of massive corruption and harassment by a significant section of customs people, but its major move failed to live up to expectation as irregularities started with awarding of first license to 3 companies, dividing countries of import in 3 blocks.”