Oct 16, 2016 News
During his annual review of state agencies, Auditor General, Deodat Sharma has found a case where a city, automobile dealer has violated the regulations governing the operation of private warehouses.
The popular importer has also landed himself in a case of tax evasion due to the infringement of the said regulations.
Sharma in his latest report said there were 34 private warehouses in operation during the period under review, 2015.
He said that an examination of the warehouse registers and physical inspections of 17 warehouses conducted in April and July 2016 revealed a number of things.
He said that in one case, 36 pieces of equipment and 17 vehicles valued at a $370.859M were not found in five warehouses operated by an importer who is a popular automobile dealer.
In addition, Sharma said that there was no evidence that duties and taxes totaling approximately $89.691M were paid.
Sharma said it should be noted that Section 100 of the Customs Act, Chapter 82:01 prohibits a warehouse owner or keeper or any person in his employ from opening or gaining access to a warehouse except in the presence or with the knowledge and consent of an officer of the Administration.
The Auditor General also found that 44 pieces of equipment valued at $312.006M and with estimated taxes payable totaling $49.921M were removed from four warehouses in which they were deposited and transferred to others without the permission of the Commissioner-General of the Guyana Revenue Authority.
He said that the removal of warehoused goods from one warehouse to another without the permission or knowledge of the Commissioner-General represents a breach of Section 115 of the Customs Act 82:01.
Sharma also noted in his report that 10 pieces of equipment and five vehicles physically verified in three warehouses were not traced to the warehouse registers maintained by the Administration. ‘
Sharma said that efforts to ascertain the value of those equipment and vehicles proved futile since it could not be determined the year the items were warehoused and the Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) of each piece of equipment and vehicle.
Sharma said that the Customs Regulations prohibit a warehouse-keeper from making any alteration or addition to a warehouse without first obtaining the written permission of the Commissioner-General.
In response to the situation, the Customs and Trade Administration said that it has taken note of the findings of the Auditor General.
It noted that the said warehouse owner operates five warehouses: two in Berbice, two in Georgetown and one at Eccles.
The administration said that an audit of these warehouses by the Warehouse
Section commenced in January 2016. Prior to this intervention, it said that these were ‘open’ warehouses – the warehouse keeper had the keys.
The officials assured that all these warehouses are now secured with locks under the control of the Warehouse Section of the Administration (CTA).
The officials said that notices to produce stock not located during the audit by the Warehouse Section were served on the warehouse operator in March 2016, prior to the commencement of activities by the State Auditors.
They said that the warehouse operator was served several ‘Notices to Produce’ and upon default, demands for the outstanding duties and taxes were served. The matter has since been deferred to the Legal Division for attention.
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