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UK's HMRC finally speaks on alleged seizure of £15 million from Ghanaian politician

Contrary to earlier reports that the UK authorities have denied seizing or investigating a whopping £15 million being laundered by a politically exposed Ghanaian, Fact-Check Ghana’s investigation has revealed otherwise.

UK's HMRC

Speculations have been rife since a social media post by a Vice President of policy Think Tank, IMANI Africa, Bright Simons, stated that UK airport customs had confiscated the said humongous sum.

“Dark rumours circulating in Accra of a politically exposed Ghanaian bigshot knocking heads with British airport customs about millions of sterling being moved through the UK without the necessary paperwork. Frantic digging for trusted sources all over,” Bright Simons stated on X.

In a bid to clear the speculations after over a week of uncertainty, citinewsroom.com published a story on Monday, March 18, saying its sources in the UK had denied the rumours.

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“Following checks by Citi FM from both agencies to verify the claims, the two agencies stated that they have no record of any such amount seized from any Ghanaian,” the media outlet reported.

However, in a bid to further verify the rumours and the media report, which was recirculated by other media outlets in Ghana, Fact-Check Ghana contacted the UK’s His Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) office on the same day, seeking clarity on the matter.

Fast forward to Wednesday, March 20, 2024, HMRC responded to the queries by Fact-Check Ghana, saying: “We neither confirm nor deny investigations.”

Meanwhile, security expert Colonel Festus Aboagye (Retired), reacting to the HMRC’s response to Fact-Check Ghana, said it was ambiguous.

“Given the sensitivity of the case, the authorities may not want to jeopardize the investigations, if any. It can also mean they don’t have enough information or evidence to definitely confirm or refute the claim or statement. It indicates ambiguity or lack of clarity to acknowledge the uncertainty rather than making a definitive statement without proper evidence,” fact-checkghana.com quotes him as saying.

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It is worth noting that the HMRC is the tax authority of the U.K. government responsible for collecting taxes, paying child benefits, regulating tax and customs laws, and enforcing the payment of minimum wage by employers. The agency boasts of having a range of powers and specialist investigation capabilities that enable it to uncover even the most complex and determined frauds and bring the perpetrators to account. Beyond the aforementioned, it also tackles international tax crime and money laundering.

Fingers remain crossed to see how this matter ends up as to whether there is any merit in the rumours or not.

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