A naturalized Liberian of Nigerian origin, Alexander Success Ojugwu, has been apprehended in Monrovia on allegations of smuggling, money laundering and tax evasion by the Liberia National Police (LNP) in collaboration with the Professional Ethics Division (PED) of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA).
The LRA was copied on a complaint from DSTV Liberia of possible smuggling of DSTV antennas, decoders and related equipment.
Acting on this tip, LRA officers conducted an internal data analysis on both its domestic tax and customs databases and found that the suspect and his business only paid business registration fees from 2013 to 2016 January.
In collaboration with the police, an undercover operation was conducted and Ojugwu was arrested. He is also accused of collecting fees from customers and directing them to subscribe for service to DSTV Nigeria through a fraudulent money transfer scheme.
The LRA also coordinated with the office of the Solicitor General and the Montserrado County Attorney for the issuance of a search and seizure warrant on the premises of the suspect.
Suspect Ojugwu was caught for allegedly smuggling and selling DSTV decoders, satellite dishes and other devices at his home on Broad Street—an act of tax evasion.
Ojugwu has reportedly been carrying out his illicit deals under the disguise of operating an electronics shop at his rented home on Broad Street and was arrested early Wednesday morning, November 22, during a rigorous joint security search and seizure operation.
He was arrested in possession of a Liberian passport, which claimed he is a naturalized Liberian citizen.
During the search, 40 pieces of large satellite plates, 66 pieces of small satellite plates, including DSTV decoders and several other accessories in large commercial quantities, were discovered as well as a stash of cash in the amount of US$15,057. His smuggling activities have been undermining a legitimate taxpayer, LRA authorities said.
A preliminary investigation has indicated that suspect Ojugwu, who registered a business under the name Success Technology Enterprise in 2013, neither paid taxes to the Government of Liberia, except his business registration fees.
Meanwhile, the seized items, including the cash and Ojugwu were turned over to the Monrovia City Court, and he was subsequently turned over to the LNP for criminal investigation pending a court trial.
The LRA said acts like Ojugwu’s speak to the enormity of the challenges it is confronted with in raising lawful revenue for the government across the various types and sizes of businesses and individuals in the country.