The President of the National Customs Broker Association of Liberia [NCBAL] accuses several national security agencies of overlapping functions at various border entry points across the country.
Mr. Ivan Tumbey specifically names the Executive Protection Service [EPS], the Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency [LDEA] and the National Security Agency [NSA], among others for doing the work of costumes brokers.
According to him, these agencies on a daily basis are seen around border points, interfering in the works of customs brokers.Mr. Tumbey calls on these security agencies to allow customs workers to do their work freely without interference.
He made the accusation during observance of the 67th International Customs Day held in Ganta, Nimba County under the theme, “Smart Borders for Seamless Trade, Travel and Transport.’’
When contacted, representatives of the security agencies accused, declined to comment.The celebration brought together customs officers from across the country, including their counterparts from neighboring Guinea.
They were joined by officers from the Liberia Immigration Service, the Liberia National Police, the Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency and the National Fire Service in a street parade in the principle streets of Ganta, Nimba County.
The NCBAL President notes that the effective operation of smart border requires cooperation of other agencies in the country to facilitate trade and ensure simplification, standardization and harmonization of border procedures.
He says to do so requires coordination in border management and collaboration with the private sector in the framework of customs-trade partnership.
According to Mr. Tumbey, smart border is a call to duty for customs administration to partner with other government agencies and economic operators from the private sector in pursuing the common objective of enhancing supply-chain security and efficiency based on mutual trust and transparency.
He reveals the customs department of the Liberia Revenue Authority has already introduced a compliant trade program for over 30 businesses in the country, while LRA Commissioner General, Thomas Doe Nah, has embarked on a mission to building mutual trust and transparency between trade and customs in the framework of authorized economic operators.
He adds the LRA under the administration of CG Nah has begun to champion a new security program in capacity building to effectively combat smuggling, commercial fraud and illicit trade.
In remarks, Commissioner General Thomas Doe Nah urged employees of the LRA not to see their work as an opportunity enrich themselves over night.
He also admonishes them to stop compromising their duties due to influences from government officials and other agencies.
Some customs officers at the program
By Thomas Domah/Nimba –Editing by Jonathan Browne