GRA stops selling smuggled foreign chicken after cold storage staff caught illegally disposing meat

Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 August 2017, 18:59 by Denis Chabrol

The Headquarters of the Guyana Revenue Authority.

The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) on Tuesday announced that it has stopped selling seized smuggled chicken because persons  at private cold storage facilities have been illegally disposing of large quantities of the meat.

“Swift action by the Law Enforcement and Investigation Division (LEID) of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) aided in the removal of a large quantity of seized foreign chicken from two separate cold storage facilities in the Berbice area after it was discovered that the commodities were unlawfully being disposed of by the curators,” the agency said.

The GRA did not say whether the persons, who were keeping the chicken at the private cold storage facilities, included its agents and whether the suspects sold or gave away the chicken.

Even as the GRA said it seized more than 25,000 pounds of chicken from businesses along the coast, the Authority said it is in the process of procuring and establishing cold storage facilities in its warehouses in Berbice and Georgetown.

“The GRA in its future efforts to minimize recurrences of this nature and to avert the likelihood of smuggled chicken reentering the market, will be donating such seizures for utilization by the appropriate Ministries and other State Agencies, rather than offering them for sale to the general public,” the tax and customs agency said in a statement.

Enforcement activities over the past week led to the GRA accosting 190 boxes and one pack of chicken from one of the locations in Corentyne, Berbice and 52 boxes and one pack from another facility at Annandale on the East Coast of Demerara.

The GRA said two persons were arrested in connection with the act and placed on station bail. It is believed that they were trying to dispose of a total of 375 boxes weighing approximately 15,000 pounds of chicken.

Meanwhile, the Authority said other exercises were also conducted simultaneously at Bush Lot, West Coast Berbice and Bourda Market leading to the discovery of more irregularities in the sale of un-customed chicken and prompting appropriate seizures and legal action.

The GRA seized an aggregate two hundred and 268 boxes and two packs of chicken weighing approximately 10,720 pounds. That amount was handed over to the Ministry of Public Health for appropriate use under the instruction of the Commissioner-General.