GRA to probe former Minister’s luxury vehicle
– Customs duty evasion, fraud charges likely, says Govt. official
The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) is set to investigate whether fraud was involved in the importation of a recreational vehicle (RV) into Guyana last year.
The vehicle, bearing registration plates PSS 5600, is under the control of former Minister, Dr. Jennifer Westford, and is currently parked at her New Hope, East Bank Demerara business place.
A Government official said that the transaction was unearthed during routine checks and an initial examination of the paper works found that only $2M was paid in taxes. It is believed that the recreational vehicle was shipped in and a wrong classification was used on the Customs declaration forms to calculate the taxes.
As much as $11M was said to have been lost in revenues.
“From checks, we believe that the transaction can constitute a breach of Sections 217 and 218 of the Customs Act, Chapter 82:01, once it can be established that the person(s) were knowingly involved in fraudulent evasion or attempts to evade import duties of Customs. This carries penalties of up to three times the value of the item and imprisonment for one year and the item can be forfeited,” the official disclosed.
A recreational vehicle is a motor vehicle or trailer equipped with living space and amenities normally found in a home. It is also known as a caravan, a camper van and a motor home.
According to information provided to Kaieteur News, the 2003 Gulfstream RV was imported in June 2014.