GRA acquires cold storage for smuggled chicken

DPI, GUYANA, Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) has acquired for itself two cold storage facilities as it continues its crackdown on the smuggling of chicken into the country.

Commissioner-General Godfrey Statia said last week that the two facilities are located in the capital city and Corriverton on the Corentyne in Berbice.

GRA’s Commissioner General, Godfrey Statia.

Speaking to journalists at his first press briefing for 2018 last Thursday, the Commissioner-General said smugglers involved in the racket would plan so well, they would have the seized chicken resold to them.

“…they, in turn, keep smuggling and when you send persons to check on the cold storage facilities, there are none, but they keep smuggling,” the Commissioner-General explained.

It is for this reason that the GRA has acquired the two-cold storage units for itself.

“So, we don’t have to ask anyone to store it anymore. It will be stored in our own”, Statia said, continuing that the storage would also have to be turned over quickly since it is possible that staff from the GRA could also be engaged in underhand business. He said GRA has been making donations of the seized chicken, just as it has been doing with vehicles coming into the country.

GRA’s tax unit has over the last couple of weeks been holding a tighter leash on the smuggling of chicken and other items, leaving or finding their way to the capital city. Earlier this month, the GRA was forced to investigate the smuggling of over 100 boxes of chicken heading to the city.

Late last year, the entity was forced to intercept the smuggling of illegal beverages travelling from Berbice.

Meanwhile, regarding the importation of vehicles, the Commissioner-General said the GRA had to cease the open bids for vehicles that were seized since it was discovered that persons were manipulating the system.

“We have stopped the format of the auctions. Instead of having someone buy the vehicle at the hit of the hammer, we now have closed tenders. The reason for that is that there was collusion (involved).”

Statia said persons brought in high-end vehicles, allowed them to be seized and then returned and bid for the very vehicles and won them. Realising this, he said the GRA began inviting closed bids. In instances where the bidders do not meet the criteria, the vehicles are not sold but are either donated to the government or utilised by the GRA.

“GRA has not bought any new vehicles since I am here. We have been sending it to our fleet,” he said

 

By: Alexis Rodney

 

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