The admonition by Commissioner-General of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Godfrey Statia about possible sanctions should there be a continued breach of confidentiality at the GRA, was criticized as “creating a repressive atmosphere” by a letter writer in the June 12 edition of Kaieteur News.
In response, the GRA would like to use this opportunity to remind the general public about the Oath of Confidentiality and Secrecy that every officer of the Authority is bound under law to take and honour regardless of his/her conviction or persuasion. This oath is founded in law, particularly in Section 4 (1) Income Tax Act and Section 23 of the Revenue Authority Act.
Section 4 (1) Income Tax Act, Chapter 81:01 states: “Every person who has any official duty or is employed in the secrecy administration of this Act shall regard and deal with documents, information, returns, assessment lists and copies of those lists relating to the income or items of income of any person, as secret and confidential, and shall make and subscribe a declaration in the form prescribed to that effect before a magistrate.”
In accordance with Section 23 of the Revenue Authority Act, Cap. 79:04: “No person shall, without the consent in writing given by or on behalf of the Authority, publish or disclose to any person other than in the course of his duties, or when lawfully required to do so by any court or under any law, the contents of any document, communication or information whatsoever, which relates to, and which has come to his knowledge in the course of his duties under this Act.”
Unfortunately, adherence to these laws has not been forthcoming in some regards, and some unscrupulous staff have been leaking information to the public at large, including the press. These unlawful actions do not augur well for the integrity and by extension the mandate of the GRA. While the Authority respects the right of every citizen to their opinions on many of its shortcomings, there should also be advocacy for interventions that seek to promote professionalism to remedy compromises and no tolerance for those who breach confidentiality.
The Authority welcomes any information from the general public that would allow for these persons to be condignly dealt with.
Public Relations Unit