[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), based on intelligence information received, has launched an investigation into suspected irregular and illegal transactions concerning vehicle concessions to re-migrants.
Commissioner General of the GRA, Khurshid Sattaur in a statement said, “recently, it was reported to management that persons allegedly posing as remigrants are benefiting others who are supposedly financing highly illegal schemes to grant themselves with the concessions for various classes of luxury vehicles.”
He said that it would appear from recent revelations made that attempts are being made by disgraced elements, officers who would have been disciplined and taxpayers who would have been placed before the courts, to resort to undermining the efforts made by management to address various areas of weakness in administrative controls and to exploit such weaknesses.
Mr. Sattaur said that even though the agency may have appropriately dealt with the officers, who in some cases because of the severity of the offence the agency would have had to part ways with; or in the case of taxpayers, prosecuted them for committing breaches in the law, they seem bent on criminal practices.
“As a Revenue collecting agency, it is to be expected that rouge elements, both within and without, would attempt to corrupt the system that protects against revenue leakages. In most cases these systems depend significantly on the integrity of the officers tasked with conducting various law enforcement activities and procedures,” the Commissioner-General said.
Notwithstanding measures being put in place to detect such schemes, the GRA is reminding the general public that they are an invaluable source of information in stamping out corrupt practices that may exist or appear to exist in any of its areas of operation.
The GRA is once again considering publishing the names of persons who have not reported to the agency as required on the basis of the issuing of the concessions, but is mindful that such a measure may play in the hands of criminal elements.
Over past 3 years, the GRA has prosecuted many Remigrants for not honouring their obligations under the scheme and have detained their vehicles while awaiting the outcome of the court matters.
The GRA is now considering prosecuting such offences under 218 of the Customs Act which provides for both the offerder and those found in collusion to face a penalty of 3 times the value of the item and 2 years imprisonment if found guilty