September 27, 2016

Implicated officers sent home to facilitate probe – GRA Board Chairman

Corruption at CJIA’s Customs Dept

By Edward Layne

Customs Officers of the Guyana Revenue Authority’s (GRA) who were implicated in a multimillion-dollar corruption scheme at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), Timehri, East Bank Demerara, have been sent on leave pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation, Chairman of the GRA Board, Rawle Lucas has confirmed.

GRA Board Chairman Rawle Lucas

GRA Board Chairman Rawle Lucas

Lucas told  Guyana Times on Thursday that while the investigations date back many years, the crew most recently implicated were sent off.
“Based upon my understanding, the crew which has been recent most at the airport, they were asked to go off, but I don’t know who might have been there for how long and so forth,” he stated in a brief comment to Guyana Times.
When asked about how soon the investigations could be wrapped up, the GRA Chairman said he anticipates the probe taking sometime, since the investigators were examining multiple years.
Further, Lucas could not say who was conducting the investigations, noting that he is still to receive a full brief on the matter.
Chief of Criminal Investigations of the Guyana Police Force, Superintendent Wendell Blanhum told this publication on Thursday that thus far, he is not aware of the Force being asked to investigate the alleged corruption.
Additionally, Head of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) Sydney James said his Unit was not asked by the GRA or anyone to probe the alleged corruption scheme.
Sources told this publication that seven officers were implicated in the corruption ring. The GRA in a statement on Tuesday said it uncovered a revenue leakage racket at its CJIA branch where its officers were colluding with businessmen to defraud the Authority of millions of State revenues.
It said the scheme, which dates back several years, is linked to a select group of importers who are allowed to clear goods without paying the correct or prescribed amount of duties.

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