Liberia, Guinea, S/Leone sign pact
The Customs Department of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) has signed an MOU with its Guinean and Sierra Leonean counterparts for mutual administrative assistance to combat customs crimes and boost customs revenues in the three countries.
The Customs authorities agreed to foster meaningful and more robust collaborations in facilitating cross-border trade and improved security to attract domestic resource mobilization in the three Mano River Union (MRU) countries.
A press release from the LRA says the customs administrations signed the resolution over the weekend in Conakry, Guinea at the close of their first tripartite meeting.
Customs Commissioner Saa Saamoi signed the resolution for Liberia, while Sierra Leonean Customs Chief Abu Martin Kanneh and Guinea’s Director General of Customs Brigadier General Moussa Camara signed for their respective countries.
The release says the MOU contains a chain of immediate actions that seek to strengthen cohesion, solidarity, and cooperation in countering Customs frauds that are detrimental to the economic, commercial, fiscal, social, cultural, or security interests of the three countries.
They also resolved to strengthen cooperation among border officers, improve intelligence sharing, and called on their respective governments to rehabilitate roads and bridges to enhance trade facilitation and boost revenue collection.
The MRU Countries Customs Chiefs, in separate closing statements, underscored the need for mutual administrative assistance among them as a workable way of addressing revenue frauds, facilitating cross-border trades, and engendering regional security.
The need for customs collaboration among our three countries is imperative…in fighting security threats and revenue frauds,” Liberia’s Customs Commissioner Saa Saamoi insisted during the two-day meeting. Saamoi stressed, “Our borders are extremely porous, and it takes only collaboration among our countries and ports to put revenue fraud under control.”
Guinea’s Customs Director General Camara noted that cross-border criminality has increased in recent years and that the three countries needed to collaborate – with each playing its role – in arresting cross-border crimes in a region with multiple porous borders.
He said the collaboration would help fight trade-based money laundering and unwholesome cross-border trades.
The MOU, he said, contains recommendations and challenges which solutions will require interventions of state authorities, saying “We will take note of the challenges and find a way to solve them…we will take these matters to the political authorities.”
In his closing statement, Sierra Leonean Customs Chief Abu Martin Kanneh noted that “The only way we can succeed in fighting cross border crime and illicit trade is to collaborate.”
Kanneh described the MOU as the beginning of a new era in the MRU region for customs administrations, adding that they would work to help each other in terms of intelligence in tracking down customs-related crimes and protecting revenues. Press Release