‘Monrovia, August 27, 2017: Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) has confiscated four vehicles and a motorbike smuggled into the country in two 40ft pre-shipment inspection (PSI) containers belonging to two separate consignees. The containers were shipped from Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, United States of America.
The four vehicles, a motor bike along with other goods, were discovered on containers marked “MRKU2010634” and “MSKU 86465423” with tampered seal.
The container marked “MRKU2010634” was imported by Mohammed Kommeh (Tax Identification Number 50063500), and was shipped from the United States by Nana Ali.
On this container, Customs officials at the Freeport of Monrovia discovered two undeclared vehicles (Toyota Tacoma – 2000 and Chevrolet Equanox – 2004) and a 1981 Suzuki motorbike.
On the second container marked “MSKU 86465423”, which consignee was Ibrihima Brown, a Hyundai Genesis, 2012 and a Toyota Highlander, 2001 were discovered undeclared and confiscated. The vehicle identification number (VIN) submitted by the importer differed from the ones discovered on the container.
The two containers were being cleared by Vedar & Sons Clearing and Forwarding Inc. of Paynesville city, with Mr. Edison Brown as Customs Broker.
An LRA investigation has discovered that Ibrahima Brown and Edison Brown are brothers to Sheik K. Brown. Sheik K. Brown is co-defendant in the ongoing case of the 7 stolen vehicles of October 2016.
The Containers were recently inspected at the Freeport of Monrovia’s Destination Inspection (DI) Site, after an LRA Customs Examiner Moses Ndoleh observed that the BIVAC Seal on one of the Containers had been broken and rejoined with glue.
The Container was a BIVAC Pre-Shipment Inspection Container but the Asycuda selectivity intelligence engine directed the Container to the Red Lane, triggering the requirement for a 100% physical examination.
This Inspection should have taken place at the Consignee’s warehouse. For Containers that have undergone Pre-Shipment Inspection (PSI) and that are also not on BIVAC’s alert list, the examination is normally undertaken at the Consignee’s warehouse, instead of the DI Site notwithstanding the red lane trigger.
After satisfying initial customs’ formalities including payment of required taxes as per theBIVAC Clean Report of Findings, a clearance notification was sent by Customs to APM Terminals to release the container to its owner. The release from APMT was to be followed by further Customs’ formalities including physical inspection of the BIVAC seal at the Exit Gate prior to exit from the Freeport
While conducting the routine seal inspection upon the arrival of the container at the Exit Gate, Customs Officer Moses Ndoleh, who was recently assigned at the NPA Exit Gate solely to inspect BIVAC seal, observed that the BIVAC seal had been tampered with.
The Container was immediately redirected to the DI Site which is within the confines of the Freeport for 100% inspection.
During the inspection, several undeclared items including two vehicles and a motorbike were discovered.
This is the latest in a series of schemes discovered at the Freeport in the Customs Clearance Process through various revenue protection measures such as heightened due diligence, decisive disciplinary actions and whistle blowing initiatives undertaken by the LRA.
Commissioner General Tamba said there are many loopholes in the revenue system of the Country and it requires enormous and concerted efforts to mitigate them to ensure that more lawful revenues are collected for the wellbeing of Mama Liberia.
The CG says all perpetrators, including the exporter, will be pursued.
CG Tamba also called on persons exporting to Liberia from the United States and who are in the habit of tampering with the BIVAC seal to please desist from tampering with the BIVAC seal and the stuffing of the containers with items after BIVAC has inspected the shipment.
She indicated that the data shows that exports from the United Sates to Liberia by certain nationalities and from certain States carry a higher revenue risk.