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LRA Customs Department uncovers an attempt to defraud the Government of revenue

(Monrovia, October 1, 2020): The Customs Department of The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) on Monday – September 28, 2020, uncovered a scheme of a false declaration by a business enterprise named “So Much to do Enterprise” (as the consignee) and Snokri Clearing & Forwarding Inc. (the broker). The clearing firm, on behalf of the importer “So Much to do Enterprise”, declared 3 X 4-foot containers of vinegar malt and paid the sum US4,364.61 to the Government of Liberia based on the description and technical classification of the good declared. The three containers, released from the port for physical inspection at the consignee’s premises, were taken to a warehouse allegedly owned and operated by AFROPA, a business entity also duly registered under the laws of Liberia.

Upon opening the containers, it was discovered by the assigned Customs Officers that the containers actually contained Castro Beer and not the Vinegar Malt as declared by the broker on behalf of the importer. AFROPA, the alleged owner and operator of the warehouse to which the containers were taken, is also allegedly the authorized importer (franchise holder) of Castro Beer in Liberia.
The containers were returned to the Freeport of Monrovia for a full examination. The examination report reveals that the actual duties and taxes which should have been paid for the three containers are US$ 158,967.98. The LRA therefore, in addition to recovering the US$ 154,603.37 of revenue due to the Government of Liberia, will impose statutory fines on the importer in keeping with the Liberia Revenue Code. Meanwhile, Snokri Clearing & Forwarding Inc. customs brokerage license is currently undergoing a review process for possible sanctions in keeping with the Liberia Revenue Code and the accompanying regulations governing the practice and conduct of customs brokers in Liberia.

The Customs Department of the LRA has also commenced administrative inquiry/ investigation of its staff for possible complicity in this scheme of fraud bordering on loss of lawful Government revenue.

The LRA advises the general public to refrain from any form of fraudulent transactions that have the propensity to undermine Government revenue as drastic actions will be taken against perpetrators in keeping with the law.

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