Nigerian-Liberian hooked for smuggling, money laundering
The Liberia National Police in collaboration with the Professional Ethics Division (PED) of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) have apprehended a naturalized Liberian of Nigerian origin, Alexander Success Ojogwu, in Monrovia for smuggling, money laundering and tax evasion.
According to a press release, the LRA was copied on a complaint from DSTV Liberia of possible smuggling of DSTV antenna, decoders and related equipment. Acting on this tip, the LRA Officers conducted internal data analysis on both its domestic tax and customs database and found that the suspect and his business only paid Business Registration fees from 2013 up to 2016 January.
In collaboration with Police, the release says an undercover operation was conducted on the target and he was nabbed early morning. He is also accused of collecting fees from customers and directing customers to subscribe for service with DSTV Nigeria through a fraudulent money transfer scheme.
The LRA also coordinated with the office of the Solicitor General and the Montserrado County Attorney for the issuance of a search and seizure warrant on the premises of suspect Ojugwu. Suspect Ojogwu was caught for smuggling and selling DSTV decoders, satellite dishes and other devices at his home on Broad Street—an act of tax evasion.
Ojogwu has reportedly been carrying out his illicit deals under the disguise of operating an electronic shop at his rented home on Broad Street, and was arrested early Wednesday morning (November 22) during a rigorous joint security search and seizure operation.
He was arrested in possession of a Liberian Passport, which claims he is a naturalized Liberian citizen. During the search, 40 pieces of large satellite plates, 66 pieces of small satellite plates including DSTV decoders and several other accessories in large commercial quantities were discovered including cash of US$15,057.00. His smuggling activities have been undermining a legitimate taxpayer.
Preliminary investigation has indicated that suspect Ojogwu, who registered a business under the name Success Technology Enterprise in 2013. Neither he nor his business has paid taxes to the Government of Liberia, except business registration fees.
Meanwhile, the seized items including the cash and Mr. Ojugwu were turned over to the Monrovia City Court, and he was subsequently turned over to the Liberia National Police for criminal investigation pending court trial. Investigation continues.
This speaks to the enormity of the challenges the LRA is confronted with in raising lawful revenue for the government across the various types and sizes of businesses and individuals in the Country. Press release