…3 in custodyAs it continues to crack down on smuggling activities, the Guyana Revenue Authority GRA) has reported that its Law Enforcement and Investigation Division (LEID) last week intercepted a vessel carrying large quantities of foreign chicken and mosquito coils. According to the revenue collection agency, the ship was intercepted during a sting operation on May 2, 2018 while the vessel was in the Atlantic Ocean.Upon discovering hundreds of boxes of foreign chicken and mosquito coils, suspected to be smuggled from Suriname, the GRA said the Captain and two sailors, who were on board the vessel, were apprehended and placed into custody as investigations continue.The tax collection body noted that they were first-time offenders; however, several recent interceptions have implicated repeat offenders. Second-time offenders are liable to pay three times the duties and taxes as a fine. While, third-time offenders may be prosecuted and/or be allowed to pay three times the value of the item as a fine, as compensation in lieu of court proceedings. In many cases, these offences also result in seizure of the goods and confiscation of the vehicles involved.This recent interception comes as GRA’s LEID continues its fight against smuggling. In fact, the Authority disclosed that from January 2018 to date, the Division has been able to recoup hundreds of millions of dollars in Customs Duties, Excise Taxes, Environmental Levy and VAT, in addition to fines, and has confiscated significant quantities of commonly smuggled items including alcohol, foreign chicken and mosquito coils.“The LEID operations exemplifies the GRA’s commitment to deter, disrupt, and prosecute individuals who attempt to import prohibited items, and evade the payment of their fair share of duties and taxes,” the agency asserted.Moreover, the Authority went on to outline that whistleblowers have significantly improved LEID’s performance and the agency’s revenue collection. To this end, the GRA said the general public must be complimented in aiding the Authority’s efforts to stamp out this activity.