The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) says it is with immediate effect commencing a vigorous vehicle inspection this week, as it has detected more fake receipts from owners.
According to Mr. Maxwell Grigsby, Acting Manager for Sector Ministries, their sophisticated validity machine has detected that taxpayers have intended to defraud government of its taxes by presenting fake receipts to the LRA.
“As of yesterday (May 12) we turned five persons over to the Crime Services Division of the Liberia National Police because after testing their vehicle registration receipts, we realized that they were fakes,” Grigsby said.
He said most citizens are not able to follow up on their own payments, but entrust that responsibility to expeditors, who in turn issue taxpayers fake receipts.
“We as the authority are embarrassed by this and we advise that when people want to pay their vehicle registration money or any tax related payment, they must do it themselves or follow up with the payment. We are saying this because when you come with your receipt, we do not see anyone besides you; for you are the custodian of the receipt,” Grigsby added.
In a related development, the LRA, in collaboration with the Liberia National Police (LNP), is searching for two Customs Brokers, Paul Jacobson and Jerry Carpenter.
The two Customs Brokers are needed for their alleged roles in the disappearance of 56 containers in the APM Terminals without payment of due taxes to government.
Commissioner General Tamba, during a press conference over the weekend said, “We have requested assistance from the National Customs Brokers’ Association regarding the whereabouts of the two brokers.”
Madam Tamba said the men were directly involved in the processing and releasing of the 56 containers from the National Port Authority (NPA).
The LRA and LNP recently launched an investigation into the disappearances of 56 containers without payment of taxes and other duties amounting to US$1.2 million.
Tamba also said that the LRA has found out during its investigations that a business owner believed to be holding a position at the Foreign Affairs Ministry is connected to these fraudulent activities and will therefore recommend that the individual be prosecuted.
The APM Terminals for its part has complied with the investigation by suspending three of its workers pending the outcome of the investigation.
APM Terminals Manager, George Adjel, said his organization will make all necessary efforts to work closely with the LRA in resolving the investigation, while addressing key measures to ensure that this type of act does not recur.