Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Fidelity Investments charged for alleged false declaration

Fidelity Investments charged for alleged false declaration
Tuesday, 08 July 2008 23:48 Guyana Times

The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) has filed charges under the Customs Act against Fidelity Investments for making a false declaration of values for a shipment of Polar Beer.

The matter is to come up in the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court tomorrow.
Jointly charged with the company is a senior Fidelity official who is expected to be appearing in court.

Speaking with this newspaper, GRA legal officer and prosecutor in the case, Gino

Persaud, said that two weeks ago, Customs seized two containers of Polar Beer after it was found that the declared value of the commodity was way below what the Customs had accepted last year for the very commodity.

Earlier this year, the company was the subject of an investigation into the evasion of customs duties for a shipment of Polar Beer. Staff members of both Fidelity and the GRA were placed under investigation after officials of the company said they had entrusted a customs broker with $142M to clear the shipment from the wharf.

The customs broker reportedly ‘brokered’ his own deal with customs officers to clear the Polar Beer under the category of ‘assorted soft drinks’, which attracts less duty than beer. The sum of $32Mwas then paid to the revenue body in taxes and another $70M was paid to a top customs official who allowed the shipment to leave the wharf. This person was also said to be instrumental in falsifying documentation for Fidelity.

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