The Iwokrama International Centre, a nonprofit entity that was established by Guyana and the Commonwealth, has been caught in a massive fuel smuggling and duty-free vehicle racket.
This was confirmed today by officials attached to the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA).
The Guyana Standard understands that the Centre is allowed a monthly allotment of free fuel but its requests for fuel in the last eight months have tripled.
A GRA source said, “This raised our eyebrows. And since then, we have been investigating them. We found, along with many other things, that their request for fuel last month was 70 percent more than what they are supposed to be given with discretion. We have clamped down on that.”
The Guyana Standard also asked GRA’s Commissioner General, Godfrey Statia to comment on the issue.
Statia declined to reveal details of what the revenue authority has uncovered. But the tax chief did not hold back on revealing his view on the matter.
Statia said, “I was surprised to learn that this entity, one that is supposed to be well-intentioned, is involved in this kind of cockishness. I can’t tell you everything we have found at this point but I will say this, they were requesting more than $200M a month in fuel and they are not allowed to have a quarter of that. We are doing our background checks to see how long this is going on; who orchestrated these outrageous requests and getting some justice. I am tired of the cockishness.”
As for the other racket, Statia said that Iwokrama has been making “some strange” requests for several high-end vehicles to come into the country duty-free. But he has stymied these efforts. The tax chief said that “the luxury vehicles” obviously have no place in the pristine, tropical forests of Guyana.
“And we put a stop to the nonsense because vehicles they had, were seen for months all over Georgetown. Tell me why people like family members driving the vehicles and got it at the popular bars in the Main Street area? These vehicles supposed to be in the interior, at their location. So that is why we seize them,” an irate Statia expressed.
He concluded, “There are more nasty things about this investigation, but in due time we will reveal them.”