Since taking charge of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) in 2016, Commissioner General, Godfrey Statia has sent home over 100 workers because of acts of corruption. According to him, this trend will continue as long as further acts are discovered.
Speaking with the Guyana Standard today, Statia said that he has no place for “bad eggs” in the reconfiguration of the revenue authority.
The Tax Boss said, “When I came on, I had several meetings with members of staff and I warned them that I would be doing a cleaning exercise. And then we started our investigations, what we found was rampant corruption from top to bottom. One of our biggest areas was corruption at the wharves and I had cause to send home several customs officers.”
Statia said that he gives all the credit to the Special Investigative Unit that was set up this year.
The Tax Chief said that such a department is absolutely necessary for the Authority as it seeks to restore the confidence of the public in the entity as well as improve its day to day operations.
Further, the Commissioner-General said, “From the duty-free vehicle to the heavy duty and equipment racket, all of them had several officers involved. When I got there, I did a set of analyses on the system and I found that in the area of customs, there was lots of misclassification of imports. Based on the codes, you know that officers misclassified a lot of items, and this was so that (importers) either get zero rates or lower rates. They have been doing that for 10 years. Can you imagine the taxes we lost because of this? Right. So we had to fire them.”
Statia noted that the SIU will continue to conduct regular audits and the findings will be released to the media when necessary.