No cellphone policy at GRA soon – Statia

Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), Godfrey Statia on Thursday afternoon stated that measures will soon be implemented to ensure that no one – employees nor taxpayers – will be allowed into the GRA with their smartphones.

“Very soon, there will be no smartphones entering my building. [This means] both officers who work with me, and also taxpayers,” he said during a press conference held at the company’s headquarters in Camp Street, Georgetown.

Statia said it is his belief that this “no cellphone policy” will ensure that the private information of taxpayers are not leaked. “We need to stamp it out because any time I find anybody leaking taxpayers’ information out there, they have to go,” the Commissioner General declared.

Recently, representatives of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) had requested that GRA provide them with tax information regarding the alleged theft of State assets.

However, the tax entity maintained that strict secrecy laws prevented it from releasing the relevant information. While the law does indeed give GRA some space to release the tax information, once it is authorised by the President, the tax authority reportedly expressed reservations about the information remaining confidential.

Still, SOCU took the matter to the High Court. However, in March of this year, Chief Justice (ag), Yonette Cummings-Edwards, ruled in favour of GRA not releasing taxpayers’ information.