“We neither confirm nor deny investigations”- UK Customs on alleged £15 million seizure from Ghana

The rumour of the seizure of £15 million from a politically exposed person in Ghana by law enforcement agencies in the United Kingdom (UK) has been circulating on social media for more than a week.

“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,” the originator of the claim, Bright Simons, stated on X.

Following Bright Simon’s post, some media houses including Citinewsroom, Daily Guide Network, Asaase Radio, Modern Ghana and Peace FM published reports indicating that the UK authorities have denied seizing any monies.

“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 March 18, 2024, Citinews report said.

Fact-Check Ghana sent the UK’s His Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) office questions on Monday, March 18, 2024.

In response to Fact-Check Ghana on Wednesday, March 20, 2024, the HMRC says it could not confirm or deny investigations into the matter.

“We neither confirm nor deny investigations,” the email response signed by Ashleigh Prince, Press Officer – Law Enforcement, HMRC stated.

Security expert Colonel Festus Aboagye (Retired) says the response from the HMRC could mean that “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,” he said.

The United Kingdom’s His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is the tax authority of the U.K. government. The agency is responsible for collecting taxes, paying child benefits, regulating tax and customs laws, and enforcing the payment of minimum wage by employers. According to the HMRC, it has 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. The agency also tackles international tax crime and money laundering.

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