Government to probe and cross reference declarations by all exporters of Gold

Government to probe and cross reference declarations by all exporters of Gold

The Guyana Government intends to widen its probe of gold smuggling to include all exporters of gold, in wake of the US sanctions against billionaire gold exporters, Nazar and Azruddin Mohamed and Permanent Secretary Mae Thomas.

In announcing the sanctions, the US Treasury Department revealed that Azruddin Mohamed and Mohamed’s Enterprise evaded Guyana’s tax on gold exports and defrauded the Guyanese government of tax revenues by under­-declaring their gold exports to Guyanese authorities.

According to the US Treasury Department report, between 2019 and 2023, Mohamed’s Enterprise omitted more than 10 thousand kilograms of gold from import and export declarations and avoided paying more than US$50 million in duty taxes to the Government of Guyana.

The US Government also found that Mohamed’s Enterprise bribed Guyana Customs officials to falsify import and export documents, as well as to facilitate illicit gold shipments.

The Mohameds are among the largest gold producers and exporters in Guyana.

At a press conference on Thursday, President Irfaan Ali said that while the Guyanese authorities are still awaiting information from the US on the details of their investigation which spanned the past two and a half years, the Guyana Revenue Authority has been instructed to examine and probe the export records of all gold exporters. It is suspected that others might also be involved in under-declaration of their gold exports.

“I have asked the Guyana Revenue Authority to seek further information, we are still awaiting the information on the Mohameds, but to seek further information at all export locations on gold exported by other gold dealers, so that we can have information see whether it matches what has been declared in our system. So we are proactively seeking additional information on all exporters to ensure that their information matches what is declared here in Guyana”, the President announced.

President Ali also announced the establishment of a new Task Force that will examine the areas of Guyana’s gold exporting system and determine which areas are in need of strengthening in an effort to prevent irregularities.

Over the past years, there has been a noticeable decline in gold declarations and the Government has been pressing local producers and miners to declare their gold to the Guyana Gold Board. It has long been suspected that some dealers have been smuggling their gold to neighbouring countries, where better prices may be available.

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