– Who authorized his duty free vehicle one year later?
Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), Khurshid Sattaur, had his retirement package approved and paid to him in 2012.
He had applied for his retirement package the year before. Today he continues to head the GRA.
Last year, Sattaur imported a 2010 Toyota Jeep Land Cruiser in his personal capacity. The vehicle which was declared at a cost of just under $1.5M, (US$7,500) was registered on April 29, 2013.
Online checks revealed that the average price of such vehicles range from US$31,000 to US$40,000.
All Members of Parliament and judges are exempt from all taxes on the vehicles they import. They are also allowed to import vehicles of an unlimited engine capacity.
Public servants do not enjoy the same privilege as judges and Members of Parliament. They can only import vehicles with an engine capacity of 2,000 cc and under. This can be waived by special permission from Office of the President.
They are not fully tax exempt. They have to pay a percentage of the import tax.
Sattaur, a public official, was not entitled to full tax exemption. His vehicle attracted a 30 percent import tax because of its age. It was under four years old.
In light of the fact that Sattaur collected a handsome retirement package and is now working on contractual terms at the GRA, questions have surfaced as to whether the tax boss is entitled to enjoy another duty free concession of this magnitude.
If so, did Office of the President authorize his importation of vehicle with engine capacity beyond the 2000cc limit for public officials?
Additionally, there have been calls for the Auditor General, Deodat Sharma to investigate Sattaur’s vehicle.
The Legal Affairs Ministry imported one used 2010 Toyota Jeep Land Cruiser acquired at a cost of $7.2 million. The vehicle with a 2TR engine capacity of 2693cc was registered on August 22, 2013.
This vehicle enjoyed full tax exemption having been imported for a Government Ministry.
An identical vehicle imported by Kwame Gilbert, a Member of Parliament, was a 2011 model which was declared at a cost of $7.4 million. This vehicle was registered on April 1, 2014. This vehicle also enjoyed full tax exemption.
Sattaur’s vehicle is similar to the one imported by the Legal Affairs Ministry. But the declared cost was some 80 per cent less than the other two identical vehicles which were declared at $7.2 million and $7.4 million respectively.
Had the Legal Affairs Ministry and MP Gilbert been asked to pay the 30 per cent taxes they would have been required to pay $2.1 million.
This has caused some observers to question whether Sattaur’s vehicle was undervalued to escape the higher tax or did Gilbert and the Ministry of Legal Affairs overvalue their imports.
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