The Acting Head of Enforcement at the Guyana Revenue Authority, Troy Vannooten, has been suspended for two months without pay, amid allegations of corruption.
Vannooten’s suspension, without pay, was confirmed by a Board Member of the Guyana Revenue Authority. The source opted to remain anonymous.
Mr. Vannotten is accused of allegedly accepting a payment in relation to the 400 boxes of smuggled chicken which had an aggregate value of over $2.8M which was seized by the GRA in September.
Vannooten along with at least two other staff members allegedly accepted a sum of undisclosed cash for the release of the Leyland DAF truck which bore Suriname license plates.
The motor vehicle was lodged at the GRA’s Warehouse Facility. The two other staff members who were not identified by the source were reportedly fired by the GRA.
Commissioner General Khurshid Sataur refused to offer a comment on the allegations when contact on Friday. He would only say that the matter is an internal one. Several calls placed to Vannoten’s mobile phone went unanswered.
The truck and its contents were detained by officers from the Guyana Revenue Authority’s (GRAs) Law Enforcement and Investigation Division (LEID) on Sunday, September 6, 2015. The quantity of chicken was then escorted to Georgetown where it was lodged at two secure locations for safe keeping pending further investigation.
The boxes bearing the brand Rockingham, also carried the production date 27/05/15 and expiration date 27/05/16. The driver and porter were issued with Notice of Seizure/Detention for the chicken and motor vehicle after submitting voluntary statements to the authorities.
They had failed to produce the relevant documentation to show legal importation for the said commodity, and both stated that the supplies were given to them as hire by an unknown individual, to be transported to Georgetown.
News Source understands that an internal probe at the GRA revealed that the smuggled chicken may be linked to a senior official at the Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU).
There was alleged collusion between this official and those at the GRA. NewsSource also understands that Vannooten has written to a Principal Manager, accusing other staff members in his department of being involved in corruption and asking that an investigation be conducted. (Kurt Campbell)