The Government of Liberia through the newly established Liberian Revenue Authority or LRA says it has suspended AMINATA and Sons Inc, a retail petroleum distributor from lifting duty free products at the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company or LPRC pending investigations into allegations that it diverted a fuel tanker belonging to the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC).
The tanker and its products, which were due to be delivered to the LWSC head office in Monrovia, but instead was allegedly diverted to Aminata’s local station in Kakata, Margibi County. The tanker was on Wednesday, October 28, 2015 impounded and returned to Monrovia after the LRA, through its cover-up operations, uncovered the scheme.
Aminata and Sons, Inc. one of the major importers of petroleum products in the country, is currently the vendor for LWSC which enjoys duty free privilege on fuel. LRA Customs Commissioner Saa Saamoi said after Aminata lifted the fuel from the compounds of the Liberia Petroleum Company (LPRC) on Bushrod Island, the tanker was covertly followed to authenticate its destination.
“…And at the end of the day, what should have been a delivery at Liberia Water and Sewer Headquarters in Monrovia, ended up at Aminata retail station in Kakata,” he said. The LRA says it cannot link any person from the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation to the act until a full investigation is completed.
Under the law, there is a penalty, a jail sentence of five years or confiscation of the product or all three of the above for the action. Commissioner Saamoi said duty free privileges enjoyed by various concessions, government entities and other organizations are being misused. “This is just one of it, and we will be very decisive about it…and whoever else is caught in the same criminal act will face the full weight of the law.”
The Customs Commissioner said the action is tax evasion and it undermines revenue generation and significantly hurts free market competition.
Edited by Othello B. Garblah.