The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) has intercepted and confiscated seven vehicles that were stolen from the United States and imported to Liberia, and has turned over those vehicles to the US Embassy, consistent with international trade and relevant customs conventions and the laws of Liberia.
The Anti-Smuggling and Intelligence Section (ASIS) of the LRA, working in collaboration with the Liberian National police and the US Embassy near Monrovia, intercepted and seized the vehicles at the Freeport of Monrovia on Thursday, October 13, 2016, while they were being offloaded from two containers.
The stolen vehicles were allegedly falsely declared by the consignee, Sheak K. Brown Building Materials, Inc., while Mr. Sam Ford Bass has claimed to be the owner of the vehicles. One container had four vehicles and only three were declared. The other container was discovered through extensive data mining in ASYCUDA, notwithstanding internal collaboration.
The seized vehicles include two 2016 Mercedes Benz, two Jeeps (a Grand Cherokee and Wrangler, both 2016 models), a 2014 Toyota Rav V4, a 2016 Dodge Ram 1500, and a 2016 Audi Q5.
The US Embassy has written the Liberian government through the Foreign Affairs Ministry, seeking assistance for the immediate transfer of the stolen vehicles to the United States.
In a Diplomatic Note, the Embassy said the United States of America has had a history of vehicles being stolen and transported to Liberia and other West African countries illegally.
“The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) has been our primary contact in confiscating, detaining and repatriating said vehicles,” the Diplomatic Note stated, adding, “We have had a successful working relationship with the LRA and have ensured the proper rules of law are followed.”
LRA Commissioner General Elfrieda Stewart Tamba said while the Authority is in the business of collecting lawful revenue for the Liberian people, it is also under legal and lawful obligation to promote fair trade, consistent with its mandate and in keeping with the International Convention on Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters.
CG Tamba said the LRA remains committed and will not be perturbed in executing its mandate for the national good of the people of Liberia, a press release said.