Customs Department of the National Revenue Authority has uncovered huge smuggling activities of food stuffs, medicine and Timber that is estimated to worth over 200 million leones in tax.The raid was conducted at the Yams Farm wharf western Rural.
Smuggling has been a major obstacle to the many efforts to improve the country’s economy as tax can be a major revenue generation, and on that note the anonymous informants confirmed that smuggling activities have been happening in that wharf for over two months.
The Head of Revenue Intelligent and Investigation Unit at the Commissioner General’s Office NRA Mohamed James Foday said customs department was able to prevent the smuggling as a result of the new commissioner General strategy to recruit whistle blowers/ informants to help prevent smuggling activities in various part of the country. According to James Foday the informants are recruited on contractual basis.
He mentioned that NRA has recruited 18 informants that are working under his unit, disclosing that NRA was able to clamp the smugglers because they were informed by one of their whistle blower that led to the arrest of the smugglers.
According to his statement he was not tipped about the Timber before coming to the wharf but discovered that it was been prepared to be exported to Guinea illegally using boats that brought in the smuggle goods.
“I met huge amount of young men off loading a truck load of timber with the intention of loading them into the boats that came in with the smuggle goods and since it illegal I decided to call the Assistant Commissioner Anti Smuggling unit to send more man power to arrest this.” James Foday added.
Assistant Commissioner Anti Smuggling Unit at NRA Brima Samba Kemoh said their are lot of other smuggle wharf that are yet to be discovered, pointing out that they are looking forward to have more informants to help tackle smuggling.
He called on various stakeholders in different part of the country to join hand with NRA in the fight to minimise smuggling that is destroying the country’s economy.
“Government interest is to succeed, then it certainly has to be supported by various community groups which seeks to protect the interest of Government for the benefit of the nation.” He added.
Deputy Commissioner – Customs Tennysion Bio expressed disappointment that smuggling has been happening at the Yams Farm community for over two months and the people failed to report it.
He furthered that it a big loss to the country, adding that the proceeds loss to smuggle should have been used to undertake major development projects.
“This is a very big loss to the country these are monies that are suppose to come to the consolidated fund for it to be utilised for development of Sierra Leone.” Tennysion Bio reiterated.
Tennysion Bio ended by appealing to the public to partner with the authorities concern to expose smuggling in any part of Sierra Leone whether it in small or large scale.
Head of SWAT at the Transnational Organised Crime Unit Andrew Rhonko Confirmed that they have made four arrest for further investigation.
The entire management together with board members of NRA were at the scene to ensure the goods were confiscated.