The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) has dismissed its security supervisor assigned at the Freeport of Monrovia for act of collusion, thereby undermining the collection of lawful revenue for the state.
According to a press release, Mr. Melvin Tolbert was fired after investigation proved that he collaborated with a container importer and a customs broker, Amandou Diallo, to allow a broken-seal container leave the Freeport Monrovia without inspection and customs assessment.
The container, which Mr. Tolbert allowed to leave the port without inspection belongs to Jeneba Bussiness Center and was marked MSKU-188935-1, with a BIVAC seal broken and rejoined.
On June 9, 2017, the LRA received information from a whistleblower that LRA Security staff and other Customs Officers assigned at the Freeport Customs Business Office (CBO) were receiving bribe to allow broken-seal containers to exit the port without inspection.
‘Tolbert and Amandou Diallo, Customs Broker of the Jeneba Bussiness Center, knowingly conspired to allow the broken and re-joined seal container to exit the Freeport without inspection,’ an LRA Professional Ethics Division investigation notes.
The release says while Tolbert claimed he did not know the cell number of Amadu, his (Tolbert’s) telephone call log showed that he was in constant telephone conversation with Amadu.
While in search of the said container on a rainy Saturday morning, the LRA dismissed security supervisor (who was part of the search team) did not provide adequate information to his professional colleagues about the location of the broken seal container.
Also on the very day of the search and while the search was ongoing, Tolbert was in contact with Amadu 13 times between 7am-6:06pm. It was a result of the whistle blower providing assistance that the container was found on Saturday. The Container was returned to the Port. Upon inspection of the Container, the several undeclared goods were discovered onboard.
Meanwhile, LRA Commissioner General Elfrieda Stewart Tamba, upon reviewing the PED report, instructed the immediate termination of Tolbert’s employment, as his act grossly violate the professional ethics code of the LRA, while at the same time undermining legitimate revenue collection efforts. At the same time Broker Amadu will be forwarded to the Ministry of Justice for appropriate prosecution. Press Release