Politics News

Official stops signature on stolen U.S. vehicles report

The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA’s) examiner assigned at the Freeport of Monrovia Ms. Genevieve E. Sesay says a discrepancy chart intended to report conflicting information to the Bureau Veritas Group Company (BIVAC) surrounding some alleged stolen U.S. vehicles was stopped by her chief examiner Mrs. Cecelia McGill.

“In the process of carrying it to BIVAC for signature which is the normal procedure we were told to stop the process of BIVAC signing. We asked [what] was the reason, Mrs. Cecelia McGill said that there was amendment made already by the clients”, second State witness Ms. Sesay told the Criminal Court “C” on Monday, 26 June.

“So I said OK no problem since you [are] the chief examiner …” witness Sesay adds, having told the court how she had questioned her boss if it had become a new procedure “that amendment can be made after the inspection”.

Defendants Armstrong Tony Campbell and Sheak K. Brown are standing trial in an economic sabotage case involving four indictees, but the other two, Kandakai Sherman and U.S. – based Sheriff Lasuado are earmarked to face separate trial for allegedly smuggling seven stolen cars belonging to individuals in the U.S.

The four defendants are indicted here for theft of property, economic sabotage, smuggling, criminal conspiracy and criminal facilitation, for allegedly stealing and shipping to Liberia seven cars belonging to different persons in the U.S. without being authorized between July and October 2016.

Liberian tax collectors at the Freeport of Monrovia say they discovered that the indictees understated the value of the vehicles and paid into government revenue US$21,800.65 “when they should have paid US$92,233”.

Witness Sesay testified on Monday that after carrying on physical examination on the vehicle that was assigned to her on 12 October 2016, she noticed that the information that was gathered from the system relating to the car and the VIN number was not the same as gathered from physical examination.

Witness Sesay adds that her workmate [Leona Hoggard] similarly discovered that the VIN numbers, mileage and year were not the same information contained in the system when she (Leona) examined the remaining two cars that were in the same container.

“We decided to compile our report together Leona Hoggard and Genevieve E. Sesay, and we took it over to our supervisor Mrs. Pauline Goll”, Ms. Sesay testifies.

Last week, LRA’s Commissioner on Custom Mr. Saah Saamoi narrated how the Regional Security Office of the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia informed him through formal communication of a suspicion that two containers had vehicles that may have been stolen from the U.S.

“As part of our custom to custom collaboration we collected the VIN number of the vehicles for verification of ownership and theft history. The vehicles were indeed confirmed as stolen from the USA”, Mr. Saamoi he says.

Considering that theft is a criminal matter, he adds that he wrote the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police, handing over the seven vehicles for criminal investigation. The case continues at Criminal Court “C”, Temple of Justice in Monrovia.-Edited by Othello B. Garblah

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