The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) is collaborating with the Major Crimes Department of the Liberia National Police (LNP) in the conduct of a criminal investigation into another revenue fraud alerted by the International Bank Liberia, Ltd. (IBLL).
The amount of about US$11,062.71 is the subject of this latest revenue fraud discovery.
The IBLL alerted the LRA that an IBLL Manager’s Check of US$6,138.20, representing employees’ withholding taxes for November 2016 issued in the name of IBI International – LASS, intended for deposit into the General Revenue Account (GRA) had surfaced for clearing at Afriland First Bank into a private account titled W. Joe General Business Center.
The IBLL also alerted Afriland First Bank of the potential revenue fraud at which time the Afriland Bank flagged the account.
Further preliminary investigation discovered that an EcoBank Manager’s Check of US$4,924.51, representing Customs Duty issued in the name of CICA Motors Liberia Inc, intended for deposit into the GRA, also surfaced for clearing at Afriland First Bank into the private account of the same W. Joe General Business Center, bringing the two amounts to US$11,062.71.
Investigation revealed that the two checks were altered and deposited at the Afriland First Bank in the W. Joe General Business Center’s account, instead of the General Revenue Account.
On December 20, 2016 an individual identified as Emmanuel P. Quoi was arrested at the Afriland Bank on Crown Hill, following a tip off from the bank to the LNP as he attempted withdrawing US$750.00 from the W. Joe General Business Center’s account in which the two checks totaling US$11,062.71 had been deposited. He is in the custody of the Liberia National Police (LNP) undergoing investigation.
The investigation has also obtained copies of the fake LRA Flag receipt from the two taxpayers.
Meanwhile, the account holder of the W. Joe General Business Center’s account, Joe Williams, is on the run, while staffs who handled the manager’s check within the two institutions are also facing criminal related interrogation.
LRA Commissioner General/CEO Elfrieda Stewart Tamba has alarmed that there is a serious growing risk on the revenue from apparently organized fraudsters.
The Commissioner General said it is important that these criminals involved in economic crime against the Nation be prosecuted, adding, “The need to increase investment in more revenue protection measures is evident and needs to be accelerated.”
The country’s chief tax administrator says the account opening process at Banks requires review for possible improvements and compliance with the ‘Know Your Customer’s Customer’ mechanism.