GRA investigates millions of $$$ in Customs duties evasion
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– Glenn Lall again implicated

THE publisher of Kaieteur News, Glenn Lall, may yet again be at the centre of a possible duty free infringement which the Customs and Trade Administration arm of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) is investigating.

Mr Glenn Lall
Mr Glenn Lall

Only days after being fingered in an alleged remigrant duty free concession scam, which the GRA is investigating, Lall is now at the centre of an alleged evasion whereby this company has, for over a decade now, imported printing inks and passed them off as products of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM); therefore enjoying duty free concessions for those importations.

A tax analyst, who spoke with Chronicle on condition of anonymity, disclosed that a forensic audit can be launched and all the monies that were evaded over the years can be recoverable.

“This can run into several hundreds of millions of dollars depending on the number of importations. The GRA has the capability of conducting such an exercise very easily. How this scam was allowed to continue over the years is anybody’s guess,” the analyst said.

The Guyana Customs is currently investigating whether a consignment (one skid and 64 drums) of printing ink, imported into Guyana by the National Media Publication Co. Ltd from the Coates Brothers Caribbean Limited in Trinidad, satisfies the criteria to be treated as community goods under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.
This newspaper understands that the drums containing the products have two labels, one of which states that the origin of the product is Chicago, United States of America (USA), and another that is superimposed on the first, which reads product of Trinidad and Tobago.
The Guyana Customs and Trade Administration is of the opinion that the printing inks cannot qualify as being a duty free item of import since it did not originate within the Caribbean Community to which the concession is granted.
A source from the Sun Chemical, which is the parent company for Coates Brothers limited, in light of the revelations, responded to queries from this newspaper and has indicated that the shipment in question originated from Trinidad and was shipped from there.
The source with the company said, “The raw materials to make the item were obtained by Sun Chemical and then relevant adjustments to the formulation were done in Trinidad and Tobago to meet customer specifications before shipping.
The individual noted that sometimes drums from Sun Chemical are reused to pack inks to “save on cost” and also highlighted that their “raw materials are made by Sun Chemical plants located around the world” and fed via sea freight.
“Our operation, being located in Trinidad and Tobago, services the Caribbean Region. Hence the reason the goods are accompanied by a CARICOM invoice and the relevant documentation.”
However, the Guyana Customs and Trade Administration is contending that the fact that Sun Chemicals is suggesting that the raw materials are made from various plants around the world and shipped to Trinidad, means that there are issues that have to be looked at based on the granting of such concessions, particularly with respect to “conditions to be satisfied within the understanding of substantial transformation.”
As such, the Guyana Customs and Trade Administration wants to verify the composition of the “Extra Regional” materials that make up the printing inks and also “confirm that the compliance process for the manufacturing of the product satisfies the conditions approved under the Treaty” before they can go ahead and release the inks that they have in their possession.
To date this request by the GRA for verification has received no response, despite several months have passed.

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