GRA responds to allegations of smuggled goods tied to Chinese Embassy
Reports carried by Kaieteur News and the Associated Press has noted that allegations the Chinese embassy here in Georgetown has been using its diplomatic status to bring in tax-free goods from China and distribute them to local merchants.
In a statement from the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), it has noted that while it cannot comment on allegations of smuggling tied to the Chinese Embassy since it falls under the auspices of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, “based on a close examination of certain aspects of what was reported, the Revenue Authority suspects that confidential information may have been leaked in violation of the Oath of Confidentiality and Secrecy outlined in Section 4 (1) of the INCOME TAX ACT, Chapter 81:01, and Section 23 of the Revenue Authority Act Cap. 79:04” the body said.
However, the GRA implore that it will be grateful for any evidence as it relates to the collusion and bribery of Customs officers, to be turned over to the GRA so as to enable us to conclude this investigation as early as possible.
The GRA said its mission is to promote compliance with Guyana’s Tax, Trade and Border Laws and regulations, through education, quality service and responsible enforcement programmes, thereby contributing to the economic wellbeing of the people of Guyana.
In the article carried over the week and re-published by the News Room, it was stated that customs officers reported the embassy had been receiving unusually large shipments and shipments tied to a diplomatic mission are not fully searched. It was also noted that the Chinese officials have imported more containers with commercial items than all other embassies combined, including the U.S.
Chinese-owned stores have been popping up across Guyana in recent years, selling everything from balloons to tiles to glass windows.
The Chinese embassy however called the allegations baseless and said it will investigate the matter and that it reserves the right to take legal action.