The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) has fired its security supervisor assigned at the Freeport of Monrovia, Melvin Tolbert, for the alleged act of collusion, which the authority says has undermined the collection of lawful revenue for the country.
Tolbert was sacked after investigations allegedly proved that he collaborated with a container importer and a customs broker, Amadou Diallo, to allow a broken-seal container to leave the Freeport of Monrovia without inspection and customs assessment, according to an LRA press release.
The container reportely belongs to Jeneba Business Center and was marked MSKU-188935-1, with a BIVAC seal broken and rejoined.
On June 9, the LRA received information from a whistle blower that its security staff and other customs officers assigned at the Freeport Customs Business Office (CBO) were receiving bribes to allow broken-seal containers to exit the port without inspection, the press release stated.
“Tolbert and Amadou Diallo, customs broker of the Jeneba Business Center, knowingly conspired to allow the broken and re-joined seal container to exit the Freeport without inspection,” an LRA Professional Ethics Division (PED) investigation noted.
According to the investigation, although Tolbert claimed he did not know Mr. Diallo’s cell number, his (Tolbert’s) telephone call log, however, showed that he was in regular telephone conversations with Diallo.
Furthermore, while in search of the said container on a rainy Saturday morning, Tolbert, who was part of the search team, did not provide adequate information to his professional colleagues about the location of the broken seal container and even as the search was being executed, Tolbert was in contact with Mr. Diallo 13 times from 7am-6:06 pm, the press release stated.
However, the container was found and returned to the Port because of the whistle blower’s alert, states the press release.
LRA Commissioner General Elfrieda Stewart Tamba, upon reviewing the PED report, ordered Tolbert’s immediate termination, saying, “his actions were in gross violation of the professional ethics code of the LRA, while at the same time undermining legitimate revenue collection efforts.”
Broker Diallo, for his part, will be forwarded to the Ministry of Justice for prosecution.