Parliament‘s attention has been drawn to what Honourable Ibrahim Sesay described as a “challenge by the Executive on the sovereignty of Parliament.”
The Honourable complaining to parliament said that Customs have now started to charge 5 million Leones as tariff for Japanese cars which used to be 1.5 million Leones.
The Parliamentarian pointed out that upon his investigations he discovered that this change was as a result of the direction of two officers from DFID who were sent to work in the Customs department.
He noted that as a Parliament they have passed the appropriation bill which also regulates the conduct of National Revenue Authority (NRA) and he is now wondering what enabling acts NRA was working under to unilaterally make such increments.
The Speaker of Parliament, Justice Cowan cautioned that they should further investigate the allegation by calling the National Revenue Authority Commissioner and the Ministry of Finance.
In the same vein the Speaker was furious, pointing out that if the allegation was true then they would want to know who is ruling the country or if our constitution does not matter, or if the NRA Officials are not aware that there is a constitution.
The speaker then directed that the Minister of finance be summoned to parliament to answer to these queries.
Meanwhile NRA have stipulated that with effect from the 22nd of May 2007 all importers and agents clearing personal effects and groupage will be required in all circumstances to present a delivery order, original invoice or packing list, and receipt for freight and insurance charges.
The revenue Authority also stipulates that as a necessary requirement for benefiting from duty exemption for personal effects or unaccompanied baggage, a traveler must produce a copy of the traveler’s passport proving international travel as provided for in Article 1000.09 of the 2nd Schedule of the customs Tariff.
NRA specified that entitlement to duty exemption for personal effects can only be granted – where the value of the goods exceed 300 USD or equivalent in Leones and the traveler must have stayed abroad continuously for not less than 6 months; only used household and personal effects qualify for duty exemption on personal effects; Only the traveler himself/herself is entitled to duty exemption on personal effects; Goods consigned to a resident (non-traveler) in Sierra Leone do not qualify for duty exemption on personal effects; a traveler who is entitled to duty exemption for personal effects cannot claim duty exemption on behalf of another person who is not traveling with them and commercial importations do not qualify for duty exemption on personal effects under any circumstances.