The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) and the Ministry of Defense (MOD) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for specialized training of Customs Officers.
Under the MoU, LRA Customs Officers will be trained by the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) in weapon handling including specialized skills necessary for customs border operations and management in keeping with the statutory roles and responsibilities of the tax Authority.
According to a release from the LRA, the agreement between the two government institutions, among other things, seeks for collaboration on border and maritime enforcement and the implementation of the LRA’s Customs Security Program (CSP).
The LRA Customs Department has a statutory responsibility for border enforcement, including maritime enforcement aimed at preventing smuggling and combating illicit trade that may be unwelcoming to the economy and the security of the international supply chain.
Speaking during the signing ceremony at the Ministry of Defense in Monrovia, Defense Minister Retired Major General Daniel Ziankahn pledged his commitment to the full implementation of the MoU.
He termed the agreement as an essential priority for the protection of LRA Customs Officers.
In remarks, LRA Deputy Commissioner General for Technical Affairs, Attorney Decontee T. King Sackie, said the singing of the MoU is a key milestone in supporting the LRA customs operations.
She noted that the agreement is vital in enhancing the implementation of the Customs Security Program and human resource capacity.
“For us, this is a milestone and we are very excited that we can finally come to this point of signing this MoU which is part of our Customs Security Program, and we are committed to play our role in making it successful”. DCGTA Sackie indicated.
For his Part, AFL Chief of Staff, Major General Prince C. Johnson, expressed support to the implementation of the MoU, describing it as an encouraging drive in preparing LRA Customs Officers for full-scale border security and protection operations.
“We are in full support and our mission as AFL is to provide support and technical assistance that which we have under the Ministry of Defense, and we stand ready to do just that”.
The MoU is also in line with the new National Defense Act of 2008, which provides that the duties of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) in peacetime shall include support to the national law enforcement agencies when requested and approved by the President. Such support shall include the exchange of information, personnel training, mobilization, and deployment of security contingents.
The LRA Customs Department embarked on a Customs Security Program (CSP) in 2021 aimed at building the competencies of its officers in areas of basic police science and tactical security skills to appropriately deal with immediate threats at borders and other customs-controlled areas. The Police Training Academy has since graduated 153 Customs officers in 3 batches.