Liberia Revenue Authority Investigates Major Fraud by Sabaru Enterprise as GoL Deprived Thousands of U.S. Dollars in Revenue
MONROVIA – The government under George Weah’s administration is striving to generate revenue amid a slumping economy, yet an impeccable source has informed FrontPageAfrica that a handful of individuals have been maneuvering to bypass taxes in the tone of thousands of United State Dollars.
Report by Lennart Dodoo, [email protected]
Documents in the possession of FrontPageAfrica show that a company known as Sabaru Enterprise located in Redlight, Paynesville, obtained permit from the Ministry of Commerce and BIVAC to import a huge consignment of flour into Liberia.
The documents obtained by FPA show that Saburu sought IPD from the Ministry of Commerce to import 15 containers (7,500 bags) of flour into Liberia.
It is not clear how the Sabaru Enterprise, which is believed to be owned by one Mamadu Mustafa, obtained IPD from the Commerce Ministry as it has no business registration.
Being that flour is locally produced in Liberia and in the spirit of protecting the local market, the Government of Liberia imposed a surcharge on the importation of flour. The surcharge is determined by the quantity and quality of the commodity. This is intended to give local producers some leverage on the local market.
However, in its attempt to by-pass the taxes and the surcharge, Saburu and its cohorts allegedly managed to clandestinely remove its manifest from BIVAC tracking system.
FrontPageAfrica gathered that Sabaru and its cohorts criminally brought in the flour under the guise of medical supplies with the bill of lading indicating the importer as UNICEF under a duty-free arrangement.
Safeway Cargo is the broker for Sabaru.
The Liberia Revenue Authority confirmed to FrontPageAfrica that it has launched an investigation into the matter and has therefore invited the Safeway Cargo for questioning and to submit all documents relating to the consignment.
In January this year, the Minister of Commerce, Prof. Wilson Tarpeh, disclosed that through an intensive investigation, the ministry discovered an active and illegal practice involving the illicit issuance and/or manipulation of Import Permit Declaration (IPDs) by local importers, which is seriously reducing GoL’s revenues and undermining the visibility of local manufacturing companies.
According to Minister Tarpeh, these illegal IPDs have resulted in the flooding of goods on the local market with low quality, thereby impacting flour, nails, eggs, biscuits and other essential commodities; goods with under declared value as well as smuggled flour, all of which are depriving the government of legal revenue.
He noted that many of the imported flour are also being illegally brought in with expired IPDs.
“As part of the determination to protect government’s revenue and support job creation in the country, local enterprises, in this case the two local flour milling corporations, as well as other local manufacturers of nails, biscuits, candies, insecticides and detergents, and the public are informed that all outstanding flour IPDs, both expired and unexpired, should be returned to the ministry for renewal and re-authenticated where appropriate,” Minister Tarpeh said at the time.
He said inspectors from the ministry will begin a thorough inspection of all import and other documents relating to the flour importation as well as nails and other locally-manufactured items.