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GRA ‘order from above’ memo pops up

Board Chair of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Professor Stephen Adei

The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) at the Tema Port appears to have commenced enforcement of a directive by its Board Chairman, Prof. Stephen Adei, to ignore ‘order from above’ commands from superior officers at the port.

An internal memo sighted by DAILY GUIDE has warned junior officers not to take instructions in the form of ‘order from above’ from senior officers of other state agencies operating at the port because if things go wrong, they will be held responsible.

The memo dated October 30, 2019 rather advised them to immediately report to the Sector Commander of Customs, Joseph Adu-Kyei.

According to the memo, Mr. Adu-Kyei is expected to immediately report the matter to the Commissioner of GRA who will, in turn, inform Prof. Stephen Adei for immediate action.

“All scheduled officers are strictly required not to take instructions from any superior officers of other state agencies in the clearing of goods at the Tema Port. All such instructions in the form of ‘order from above’ should be ignored and immediately reported to the Sector Commander through Commissioner-Customs Division to the Board Chairman. Officers are to ignore only when the instruction is to influence them to do the wrong thing. If scheduled officers allow themselves to be influenced to the detriment of revenue mobilization, such officers shall be held responsible. All are cordially admonished to be guided in their execution of duty with circumspection and strict compliance,” the statement said in parts.

Recently, the Board Chairman of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Prof. Stephen Adei, was in the news for warning staff of the Customs Division of the Authority to refer to him all so-called protocol goods meant for clearance at the country’s ports.

During a visit to the Customs Division, Tema Collection, together with the Director-General of the GRA and the Commissioner of Customs, Prof. Adei warned the staff that “from today, if anybody says there is order from above, and you collaborate and you are caught, you will be sacked immediately.

“When there is order from above, refer that order from above to me,” he ordered, adding “if they say ‘it’s from the Operations Room (at the) Jubilee House’, say ‘Stephen Adei says, ‘if you want to send directives from Operations, send it to him and the Commissioner direct’”.

Prof. Adei continued, “If anyone of you clears a chicken in the name of a fish for somebody, he may be the biggest person, but I will hold you responsible.”

As part of his ‘Stop the Leakage by the Few’ crusade, Prof. Adei said he would provide a dedicated phone number through which whistleblowers, especially junior staff, can lodge complaints of leakages to avert victimization.


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