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Rekha sent home
Sattaur announces amnesty
Neermal Rekha

Secretary to the Treasury (ST) Neermal Rekha was sent home yesterday following a directive from President Bharrat Jagdeo that persons named in the investigation into a remigrant vehicle scam be interdicted from duty or fired.

Rekha joins two other staffers from the Ministry of Finance said to be involved in the scam where persons were given duty free concessions for vehicles when not eligible.

A senior government source confirmed Rekha's interdiction while alluding to the president's comments in relation to the fraud.

Meanwhile, Commis-sioner-General of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Khurshid Sattaur told Stabroek News he is giving the persons who imported the cars one week to come forward and hand over their vehicles and related documents to the GRA.

In return, he said, they would get what he described as an "amnesty from prosecution," once they pay the duties and taxes due on the vehicles.

Not a moment to spare: Commissioner-General of the Guyana Revenue Authority Khurshid Sattaur working at his laptop during the sitting of Parliament at the Ocean View Convention Centre yesterday afternoon. The Small Business, Investment and Guyana Energy A

He warned that non-compliance with his request would result in heavy penalties being enforced, inclusive of the payment of the owed duty and taxes, a fine of three times the value of the vehicles and one year in jail. In illustrating the gravity of the penalties, Sattaur said that the Purchase Tax to be paid is 100% of the cost, insurance and freight (CIF) of the vehicle plus the Duty and the Consumption Tax. He said: "They have to surrender their vehicles to me [and] they have one week [to do so]."

He said that for yesterday the GRA interviewed six persons and that a team of officers had travelled to Berbice to speak with others.

Sattaur said that duty-free concessions would only be renewed on the criterion that they satisfy all the documentary requirements for the 'privileged' status. According to Sattaur, the offences are serious as they involved hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

Meanwhile, police said yesterday there have been no charges filed in relation to the scam so far. The police source said the investigation is continuing and that a number of persons have been questioned so far.

President Jagdeo, in a televised interview on Saturday, said he had directed that those named in the GRA investigation as being reportedly involved, be either sent home or dismissed to allow for the investigation to proceed.

The GRA investigation states that of 86 duty-free letters that the Ministry of Finance issued in August, over half of them were found to be bogus.

Rekha has maintained he did nothing wrong saying he was not sure where the fraud took place, whether at his ministry or at Foreign Affairs.

He told this newspaper that due to the large volume of documents that he had to look at on a daily basis, he could not check each and every one of them.





Government should be fair in it's deliberations with all of it's citizens. While it is important to investigate criminal acts. It is important to be fair in all directives. The PNC has not served the interest of the Guyanese population, instead they had boycotted parliament on many ocassions, yet they were being paid for their abstenence. If an employee consistently does not show up for work the right thing to do would be to stop paying him. By paying him you are supporting his miscreant behaviour and sending the wrong message to the youths in the nation. Jagdeo should do the right thing an order non- payment for consistent abstenence from Parliament. He should show the PNC, he is in charge of the treasury also!!  
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PNC/R MPs still collecting money although boycotting Parliament