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GRA seizes 17,000 gallons of smuggled diesel aboard fishing vessel converted to transport fuel

Law Enforcement and Investigation Division (LEID) officers of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) seized 80,000 litres (17,597 gallons) of diesel aboard a fishing vessel that was converted to  ship fuel, the agency said.

“The officers conducted a rummage of the vessel and it was discovered that even though the intended use of the vessel was listed as “fishing purposes”, the “Plumrose” was converted for fuel transport,” the GRA said in a statement.

The tax agency said the vessel was intercepted on September 22, 2018 and since then the captain and crew have been assisting investigators. “Charges are expected to be laid shortly”.

The GRA said it has since called in the Guyana Energy Agency and the two agencies are collaborating on the probe.

“The GRA  said it has also seen a rise in fuel smuggling over the past few weeks, with the interception of additional vessels which will lead to a substantial amount of revenue being recovered. The Authority has taken a relentless approach against smuggling and will be working in close collaboration with its sister agencies to minimize these activities,” the GRA added.

Over the past year, the GRA has recouped billions of dollars in taxes from seizures and auctions not only from illegal fuel but also from breaches in motor vehicle concessions and IDA’s, and commonly smuggled items which include alcohol, foreign imported chicken, mosquito coils.

The Authority  advised persons to cease and desist from smuggling activities failing which, instead of accepting fines, the relevant charges will be instituted in a court of law.