Succession planning the reason for recent reshuffling – GRA

Succession planning the reason for recent reshuffling – GRA

The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) says that recent changes with senior staffers at that entity are not unusual.

Responding to a news article on March 22 in Kaieteur News, titled ‘Customs officials’ unexplained wealth cited in major GRA reshuffling – new Customs chief named; officers have pools at homes’, the tax authority insisted that the moves of several senior officials is in keeping with succession planning.
“It should be noted that over the last two years the GRA has been constantly rotating staff at all levels.       

Staff rotation allows for knowledge transfer, encourages employee development, identifies positions the employee may be best suited for and allows for good succession planning.”

The authority explained that in keeping with this thrust, four heads were rotated at the Customs and Excise, Legal, General Services and the Integrated Regional Tax Offices divisions.

Patrick Hyman, the current second in command of Customs, will head that department come April 1st.

Current Customs head, Lancelot Wills, is being returned to the Legal Department, where he had been stationed before.

The GRA statement did not give details of the names of persons, but officials on Wednesday disclosed that Ingrid Griffith, who was at one time acting as Commissioner-General before Godfrey Statia was hired in August 2016, has been named to head the Integrated Regional Tax Office. Deputy Commissioner General, Karen Chapman, will be in charge of General Services.

According to GRA, it constantly monitors reports of collusion, and bribery and corruption at all levels of the authority, and not only at the Customs and Excise Division.

“These reports are investigated by its Special Investigation Unit and thereafter any necessary disciplinary action is taken.

The authority would therefore appreciate any information that may be available to this newspaper that may aid in any such investigations.
The GRA also advises that going forward, clarification should be sought on matters relative to the agency to avoid sensational reporting.”

The report is said to have unsettled a number of GRA staffers yesterday, with the matter being discussed.

The report yesterday quoted knowledgeable GRA sources who admitted that corruption and collusion between staffers and businesses in recent months has been a problem.

Over the years, the issue has been simmering, with Guyana losing tens of millions of dollars from taxes because of corruption.

Since taking office, Commissioner-General Statia and his team have sent home more than 100 staffers for corruption, collusion, absenteeism and other infractions.

Last year, GRA’s collections were up by almost $20B with scores of non-compliant businesses hauled in.

The crackdown has also been focusing on abuse of duty free concessions for vehicles granted under the Remigrant Scheme; fuel trade on the borders; under-invoicing and tax evasion by businesses.

Among some of the frauds, which cost Guyana tens of millions of dollars monthly, were under-invoicing, clearing goods under wrong headings and a host of other schemes.

[Kaieteur News – March 23. 2018]

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