Employees of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) on Wednesday received a stern warning from Commissioner General Godfrey Statia on bribery and other corrupt practices.
The admonishment came after two of the entity’s staffers were late last week arrested for duty-free fraud.
The GRA Commissioner General was said to have “summoned a general meeting with staff” at the entity’s Camp Street headquarters where he noted that a no-nonsense approach to bribery and other forms of corruption would be taken.
According to a release issued by the tax authority, Statia made it clear that in addition to honesty and integrity, “professionalism must be paramount” and he reminded his staff that they took an oath of confidentiality as outlined in the Income Tax Act, Chapter 81:01, Section 4 (1) that “all officers are sworn to same upon acceptance of employment with the Authority”.
Commissioner General Statia also stated his intention to “rid the GRA of the wrongdoings that have tarnished its reputation in the past”. The tax collection authority also stated that members of the public should avoid any form of collusion with staff, such as payment of monies for services offered by the GRA.
“Members of the public are just as guilty should they aid and albeit the commission of an offence by willingly participating in any clandestine act and may also be subject to prosecution,” the statement added.
On October 20, reports surfaced that the two employees had reportedly forged documents that purported to show that two All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) were subject to duty-free concessions. Reports had indicated that the two staffers benefited from the alleged fraud.
It was only in June that the tax body had undergone significant staffing changes, according to Chairman of the governing board, Rawle Lucas, as the organisation sought to realise its objective of improving its relationship with Guyanese taxpayers, and to increase the collection of revenues. At that point, several staff members were let go from the tax authority.