Liberia: LRA Seizes Ghanaian Vessel With Smuggled Goods

The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) has arrested a vessel loaded with smuggled goods in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County. The vessel is said to be a Ghanaian vessel.

Search on the vessel established that there were 290 cartons of liquor, 221 cartons of Faxe 10% and 70 cartons of Origin and assorted mining machines and other equipment.

LRA Senior Collector assigned at the Port of Buchanan, Vickie Wilson, accounted that the vessel arrived on Tuesday, February 18 at 2 a.m. at an unauthorized pier with the smuggled goods.

Goods are smuggled with the intent of escaping tax payment, and if the vessel were not arrested, those who possess the goods would not have paid the taxes due to the government.

To establish the actual amount in taxes, the LRA joint security has been called to assist in investigating the incident to establish the actual amount of taxes that would go to the government.

According to the LRA, goods on the vessels were reportedly bought by Liberians who paid all the required taxes in Ghana and hired the Ghanaian-owned vessel to smuggle them to Liberia, with the intent of evading taxes.

The vessel and goods are currently in the custody of the LRA, pending an investigation and, depending on the outcome of the investigation, owners are expected to face penalties in keeping with the revenue laws.

Smuggling under the revenue code of Liberia is a major criminal offense. According to the LRA, the Government of Liberia is losing millions of dollars annually in revenue as a result of smuggling by some business people who use porous borders and other unauthorized entry points for cross-border trade.

When the LRA Commissioner-General, Thomas Doe-Nah was contacted via mobile phone for his reaction to the unfolding event, he did not respond to the call and text message, however, sources at the LRA said smuggling is a serious problem hampering revenue collection because many businesspeople smuggle goods into the country that has an adverse consequence on the country.

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