GRA probing luxury vehicles re-migrants scam

The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) has launched an investigation into suspected irregular and illegal transactions concerning vehicle concessions to re-migrants.

A release yesterday from the GRA said it has taken this course of action based on intelligence information received.

Commissioner-General of the GRA, Khurshid Sattaur said in the press release, “recently, it was reported to management that persons allegedly posing as re-migrants are benefiting others who are supposedly financing highly illegal schemes to grant themselves with the concessions for various classes of luxury vehicles.”

Sattaur said that it would appear from recent revelations 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.”

Sattaur added in the release that even though the agency may have appropriately dealt with the officers, who in some cases because of the severity of the offence were severed  or in the case of  taxpayers, prosecuted them for breaches in the law, “they seem bent on criminal practices.”

“As a Revenue collecting agency, it is to be expected that rogue 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 declared.

The GRA reminded 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 said it 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 added that it is mindful that such a measure may play into the hands of criminal elements.

The statement said that over the past three years, the GRA has prosecuted many re-migrants for not honouring their obligations under the scheme and have held 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 offender and those found in collusion to face a penalty of 3 times the value of the item and 2 years imprisonment if found guilty”, the statement declared.

It said that the GRA will spare no efforts to address such alleged wrongdoings and recently launched an independent probe involving the Guyana Police Force and the Auditor General to “determine whether the information received from conscientious and good intentioned informants have merits in order to address this issue and will be requesting the DPP to file criminal charges against persons found to be criminally involved”.

The release said that the public is reminded that they have a civic responsibility to report such matters and can do so anonymously using its Hotline 227 8222 or 227 6060 extension 1201 to  1204 and 3208.

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