The commissioner general of the National Revenue Authority (NRA), Allieu Sesay, has urged the Sierra Leone Traders’ Union (SLTU)’s executive to inform their membership to deal only with customs officers at border posts in respect of clearing of goods and to “refuse to pay bribes” to any NRA officials.
Mr Sesay made this statement when he met with executives of the SLTU at his Bathurst Street office in Freetown.
He also instructed all Customs and Excise Duties (CED) officers of the NRA to refrain from dealing with ‘Charter –men’ (managers of trucks who provide transport services to importers, especially the Conakry- Freetown axis).
The commissioner general gave the SLTU executives two ‘hot telephone lines’, 077-632-167, that they should call when NRA officials demand bribes from them.
Mr Sesay disclosed to the executives that the NRA would shortly be “simplifying tax education including Customs Laws; embarking on more aggressive and sustained tax education campaigns in the media, and in face-to-face meetings with stakeholders.
The SLTU officials made their unrelenting complainants that ‘Charter-men’ insist that Sierra Leonean traders who go to Guinea to purchase goods not only to pay fares for the use of the Charter-men’s trucks, but also pay customs duties upfront to the Charter-men.
The Charter-men would then ‘negiotiate’ with customs at the Gbalamuya customs post as if they own all the goods in the truck.
The SLTU Public Relations Officer (PRO), Agina Mansaray, disclosed that NRA officials would waste traders’ time if they refused to bribe them.
SLTU revealed that if they fail to give the Charter-men the Customs duties for the Sierra Leone Customs while at the truck depot in Guinea, they (the ‘charter-men’) would simply not load the traders’ goods at the Conakry depot.
The commissioner general remarked that this was an international matter, as the NRA would shortly be contacting the ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on this issue.