Results of probe into containers submitted to Heyligar
Stabroek News
June 26, 2002

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The results of the investigation into two containers imported by a businessman to determine whether any Customs regulations had been breached have been submitted to Commissioner-General of the Guyana Revenue Autho-rity, Edgar Heyligar.

The first part of the report was submitted to Heyligar on Monday afternoon.

The investigations revealed some of the goods were under-invoiced to the value of about $700,000. Importers are however permitted to fill up a C32 B form where they are not sure the assigned values for the items are correct. This permits the correct values to be inserted when the goods are examined.

When the office of the Commissioner-General was contacted on Monday, Heyli-gar, through his secretary, said even if the report was to have been sent to him, it was no business of Stabroek News'.

The office of the importer, Shahabudeen Ahmad, was contacted yesterday and Stabroek News was told he was out of the country and was expected back in about two weeks. No-one else was authorised to speak on the issue, Stabroek News was told.

Heyligar had told Stabroek News last week after he had launched the investigation, that he would have no hesitation in recommending the dismissal of CTA's Commis-sioner, Lambert Marks, if any discrepancy was found pertaining to the importation of the two containers.

Marks had approved permission for the containers to be examined at Ahmad's premises about one week before the shipment had arrived.

The documents of the importer were processed within 24 hours, and other businessmen have complained about the long delays in getting theirs looked after.

Marks said he would stand up to public scrutiny if any discrepancy was found and instructed the Customs and Trade Administration's (CTA) head of internal audit to disclose the findings of the investigation.

This officer could not be contacted by Stabroek News again yesterday.

The CTA's Commissioner had launched a verbal attack on Heyligar on Tuesday last week accusing his functional superior of interference with his job and applying pressure upon him.

This is in relation to an instruction passed by Heyligar to release containers held by the CTA belonging to three importers who had lodged complaints.

The importers contended that Marks had expedited the release of the two containers imported by Ahmad when they had not yet arrived in the country.

Marks had told reporters that Ahmad's documents went through classification, entry processing, and the valuation unit with no problems.

He said Ahmad paid $3.9 million in duties and taxes and the importer requested permission to have his goods examined at his premises.

This permission was granted by Marks.

"I had nothing to do with the processing of Mr Ahmad's documents. My only involvement was the granting of approval for the examination of the content of the container at his premises," Marks had said.

But he said he stood firmly behind the adequacy and accuracy of Ahmad's documents.

Marks said Ahmad has been profiled to be in good standing with the CTA, following an examination of his documents over the past two years and the examination of his containers.

The Commissioner asserted that neither he nor Ahmad had done anything wrong.

He challenged Heyligar to cite him in writing for any act of irregularity he had committed.