By Naneka Hoffman
A Liberian businessman identified as Rochina Harvey has accused a top Customs Officer of allegedly discriminating against Liberian-owned businesses in favor of Indian and Lebanese-owned businesses.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Innovational International Group of Companies Liberia, LTD, told a press conference over the weekend that due to the alleged discrimination, he has transferred to Ghana, Nigeria and Togo, a company that should have employed hundreds of Liberians.
He alleged that he has lost over 500,000 United States Dollars over the last two years due to alleged bureaucratic and discriminatory measures in Liberia.
According to him, his company has been facing this challenge with the Customs Department of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) over the last four to five years.
He said he has been importing some drinks juices and other items in the country.
Meanwhile, Mr. Harvey threatened to mobilize Liberians against Mr. Saah Saamoi, a commander of LRA’s Customs Security Forces and the foreign-owned businesses for discriminating against Liberian businesses.
“Few years ago,” he went on, “ I brought three containers of juice into the country; when they noticed that the juice I [had] imported [would have competed] with those that are produced in Liberia, Mr. Saahmoi brought [a] whole lot of delay tactics, causing the expiration and damage of the juice,” he alleged further.
He maintained that Mr. Saahmoi is harming Liberian-owned businesses in favor of the ones owned by Lebanese and Indians.
Mr. Saah Saahmoi’s phone rang endlessly without any response when called to address the allegations.
He did not also reply to text messages sent him up to the publication of this story.
LRA Director of Communication Kaiyeneh Sengbe said Mr. Saahmoi was not in the position to respond now and promised to get to the media.