Anil Lakhiani

Anil Lakhiani

Two Indian businessmen accused of evading tax after allegedly smuggling 460 drums of Isopropyl Alcohol valued at GH?437,000 from the Free Zones Enclave near the Tema Industrial Area, have been remanded by an Accra Circuit Court.

The two, Anil Lakhiani and Sundeep Sonu Dhawan, managing directors of Top Industries Limited and XLNC Company Limited respectively, have been slapped with four counts of smuggling the substance in order to avoid paying taxes.

Anil is said to have on separate occasions in March and April, this year, contravened the Free Zones Act by smuggling a total of 460 drums of the said Isopropyl Alcohol.

Sonu is also accused of intentionally defrauding Ghana for acquiring the said substance which he well knew to be unaccustomed goods.

They pleaded not guilty to the charges against them in the court presided over by Francis Obiri.

The trial judge also dismissed a bail application filed by Nana Owusu Bonsu, counsel for the accused persons, and accordingly remanded them into police custody to reappear on May 12.

According to the counsel, the issue at stake involved money and that they were in touch with government to ensure payment.

Briefing the court, ASP Abraham Annor said Anil is the MD of Top Industries, a company registered as a Free Zones Company under the Free Zones Act in the Free Zones Enclave near the Tema Industrial Area, while Sonu is an Indian businessman based in Ghana in the aforementioned company.

He said Sonu?s company is engaged in the importation and sale of alcohol in Ghana and that Anil is engaged in the manufacturing of poly-sacks and some other rubber products which require very limited quantities of the substance to be used in diluting paint to print various descriptions on the poly-sacks.

For this purpose, he explained that Anil was allowed to import quantities of the alcohol as a raw material for the printing purpose without import duties under the Free Zones Act.

ASP Annor stated that intelligence gathered over the period revealed that the volume of alcohol imported by Anil over the period was very high and suspicious, adding that in 2013, the accused imported 6,164 drums of the Isopropyl Alcohol in 12 consignments and cleared all duty-free into the country.

According to him, those were smuggled out of the enclave and sold in the local market, indicating that between January and March 2014, the accused was recorded to have made two imports of 1,320 drums of the substance which he also cleared duty-free.

The persecutor said investigations revealed that Anil was engaged in the smuggling of the alcohol out of the enclave for sale in the open market by Sonu, who owns a warehouse at South Industrial Area in Accra.

ASP Abraham Annor further told the court that in the last week of March 2014, Anil sold 500 drums of the alcohol to Sonu while 400 drums were smuggled from the enclave in the night to the warehouse of the second accused.

He said on April 2, while conveying another 60 drums in the night, an intelligence team from the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority caught up with the transporter.

ASP Annor stated that the two accused persons and other persons connected to the smuggling were arrested and 460 drums as well as 90 drums found in the warehouse of the second accused were impounded.

He added that Anil, upon his arrest, confessed to the crime, claiming that production in his company had gone low, hence the smuggling of the alcohol to sell to make some money.

The prosecutor said Sonu also admitted he was aware the alcohol was imported duty-free into the Free Zones enclave by Anil.

Email: [email protected]

 By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.