Guyana: Customs officers sacked for alleged corruption

By Kaieteur News

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(KAIETEUR NEWS) — Almost a dozen Customs officers were sacked this past week for alleged corruption.

According to reports, a few, who were sent home, would have served in excess of 20 years at the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA).

While Commissioner-General Godfrey Statia could not immediately be reached, yesterday, well-placed sources confirmed that the termination was long in the making.

There were investigations being conducted since last year with reports recommending termination of the staffers who were mainly working at various city wharves.

A number of the staff members received letters on Thursday and more are expected to be sent home.

Kaieteur News understands that among other things, investigators found deliberate breaches of shipments of goods at city wharves, including attempts to release containers without the paperwork being completed.

There were other instances of collusion.

GRA has been taking a harsh stance on corruption.

The Coalition Government, on entering office in early 2015, recruited back Godfrey Statia as Commissioner-General.

Under his tenure, more than 100 staffers have been sent home for absenteeism, corruption and other breaches of GRA’s code of conduct.

Prior to that, that government’s primary tax collection entity had built up a notoriety of corruption by officers, with businesses complaining of being forced to pay for everything and even facing discrimination for not passing a “raise”.

GRA has also been targeting tardy businesses to pay their taxes and finding numerous cases of tax evasion.

The authority has also brought the hammer down on duty free vehicles, a major leak in revenues.

Recently, the attention has turned to the fuel import business, where tens of millions of dollars in taxes are lost because of smuggling and corrupt activities.

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