Over the last two weeks, Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo heavily criticized Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA),Godfrey Statia for failing to explain how two land cruisers that were intercepted and seized by the authority, ended up in the possession of government supporter, Carlton Beckles, who is also the former Mayor of Lethem.
When contacted this morning by this news agency, Statia said that he addressed this issue in a statement that was sent to a section of the media. In the document he shared with the Guyana Standard, Statia explained as much as the law allows him to.
The tax chief admitted that indeed, two vehicles manufactured over eight years ago were duly seized from a repeat offender in mid-December 2018. He said that this the seizure was in keeping with Section 225 of the Customs Act which speaks to the failure to produce pertinent customs declarations and supporting documents. The tax chief further noted that Section 225(2) states that all seizures lawfully made under the customs laws or any other law, shall be deemed to be taken and condemned and may be sold or otherwise disposed of in such manner as the Comptroller may direct.
In addition to this, Statia explained that the two motor vehicles, because of age, location, and poor condition resulting from the exposure to the elements of weather rendered the same unserviceable. To prevent a total loss of revenue, he said that the Authority found it prudent to invoke the relevant provisions of the Customs Act and disposed of the motor vehicles accordingly.
Statia did not state the form of disposal used as he is subjected to the strict duty of confidentiality and must adhere to those rules in accordance with the provisions of the Revenue Authority Act, Chapter 79:01.
Statis said that notwithstanding the wide powers bestowed upon him to dispose of seized vehicles as he sees fit, disposal is done in a fair and consistent manner to ensure maximum collection of revenues by the State.
The Commissioner-General also said that contrary to claims made by the PPP, there was no backdating of the records for the vehicles. The process for registering vehicles he stressed is fully automated.