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Customs Ready to Fight Counterfeiting & Piracy

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The Deputy Commissioner in charge of Operations at the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Mr. Seth Dwira says Customs is ready to fight crime against intellectual property.

He said measures have been put in place at the various ports to prevent fake products from entering the country.

Briefing the media at a workshop organized for custom officers dubbed “Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy”, he said “we are doing our best at the ports, especially airport and Takoradi, to ensure fake goods are intercepted. We also make sure we destroy the goods after they been intercepted”

Touching on some interceptions made by his team, he disclosed that a total amount of $358,000 fake US dollar notes was intercepted at Dabala in the Volta region last year.

According to him, the parcel containing the fake dollars was discovered in the vehicle, which was travelling on the Accra-Lagos road.

The workshop comes at a time when the country is faced with issues of intellectual property rights infringement through acts of counterfeiting, piracy and unfair business practices.

Fake textiles, toxic cosmetics, poisonous foods amongst others have found their way through the country’s entry points in recent times.

Mr. Seth Dwira believes that the workshop will serve to increase the alertness of participants to fight crime against intellectual property.

In a speech read on his behalf, the Deputy Trade Minister, Carlos Ahenkorah said government is committed to making intellectual property a productive part of the business processes.

According to him, “it will require that human resource and institutional capacities are developed across sectors to ensure there is capacity to utilize the intellectual property system.”

Thirty (30) Custom officers involved in IPR border enforcement, and 5 officers from the Immigration Service, participated in the workshop.

Resource speakers from World Customs Organization (WCO) Ms. Sandra Wens and Mr. Ishay Assael shared their knowledge and practices with the participants and facilitated the discussions.

The participants then discussed the challenges and possible solutions as a way forward through a series of group discussions.

The discussions covered a wide range of topics, namely the legal framework, operational procedures, risk analysis, information recordation at Customs, information-sharing among Customs officers, cooperation with right holders and IPR training programmes.

By: Emmanuel Yeboah Britwum

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