Special courts to check illegal foreigners in retail markets

Foreigners illegally engaging in retail business would soon be hauled before some special law courts.

The Chief Justice, Mrs. Justice Georgina T. Wood has indicated the courts will possibly sit on Saturdays to try offenders of the law on retail business which is a preserve of Ghanaians.

Madam Wood revealed this when she met new Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah and some members of the task-force at her office yesterday.

“We are studying the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act (ACT 865) and will soon dedicate a court to prosecute non-Ghanaians found engaging in retail trade in our markets as well as Ghanaians who may be violating the provisions of the law by conniving with such foreigners,” she noted.

To ensure speedy trial of offenders, she urged the Ministry of Trade and Industry to put in place a team of prosecutors who will be trained by the Judicial Service to be abreast of the law and gather evidence for the prosecution.

Dr. Ekwow Spio-Gabrah on his part remarked that government amended the GIPC Law to protect the retail business which is brazenly being flouted.

It has been observed that some non-Ghanaians have taken over the retail business and are depriving Ghanaians of their livelihood in contravention of the GIPC Act.

In some cases such operations are carried out with the consent of Ghanaians who front for non-Ghanaians in the market centres.

Following various calls from GUTA, the Ministry of Trade and Industry set up a Task Force to check this act which culminated in a sensitization of non-Ghanaians about the law and the need for them to desist from such practices.

Dr. Spio-Garbrah indicated that the exercise will succeed if the Judiciary is also delivering effective justice by applying the Rule of Law to protect the interest of Ghanaians.

He added that his Ministry would continue its sensitization programme and capacity building for prosecutors in order for prosecution to begin in November, barring any hitches.

He however, cautioned Ghanaians who front for these non-Ghanaians to desist from such practices as they are equally liable for prosecution under the law.

Mr. Edward Ashong Lartey, Director of Monitoring and Tracking at the Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC) in a submission said the GIPC Law does not forbid non-Ghanaians from trading in the country but they are not expected to do petty trading at the designated markets.

He said the Task Force after visiting some markets last Thursday (October 9, 2014) observed that non-Ghanaians were still operating in our markets in contravention of the GIPC Law. So what can be done now is prosecution by a court of competent jurisdiction.

Mr. Lartey said the GIPC Law entreats non-Ghanaians to trade in Ghana provided they have $1million in goods or cash to be ascertained by Customs clearance forms or certified by the Bank of Ghana.

source : myjoyonline.com

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