Suspended Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Law Enforcement Manager Troy Vannooten has come forward to challenge bribery allegations which have led to his suspension from the Agency.
News broke last week that Vannooten had been suspended for his alleged involvement in accepting payment in relation to the 400 boxes of smuggled chicken which was seized by the GRA in September.
However, Vannooten says he never accepted any bribe or received money of any sort for the release of the truck carrying the chicken which had an aggregate value of over $2.8M.
In fact, the Manager who has given more than 12 years service to the GRA, believes that his suspension was unjust, unfair and is without merit.
The GRA staffer maintains his innocence and said that the “trumped-up internal allegations” against him is mainly because he has ruffled feathers within the government’s lone tax collecting agency regarding corrupt practices.
“I am a no nonsense person. You would have heard before about all of the corrupt activities that go on within the GRA. In my capacity of enforcement officer any time individuals try to do corrupt things, I stamp it out immediately once brought to my attention. I have served the GRA with distinction. People on the road and even within GRA feel threaten by my presence in law enforcement,” Vannooten said in statement on Monday.
While there has been no official word from the Authority, Vannooten said in a suspension missive communicated to him, the Human Resources Manager cited that he breached the GRA code of conduct, offence #16 which states ‘failure to obey known rules and codes of conduct, conflict of Interest and post-employment codes.’
However, Vannooten said that he acted within the rules and regulations of the authority regarding the detention of a Bedford Suriname lorry which had contained the foreign chicken. The suspended Manager is now claiming that it was Commissioner General Khurshid who had instructed that a sum of $700,000 be paid to GRA as fines.
“The CG instructed me to collect two hundred thousand GYD as conveyance as a fine for the truck that was transporting the chicken, and five hundred thousand GYD as fine for the chicken itself. I had never received no money. The taxes that were paid to GRA was received by another staff located the GRA centralised building on camp street, and an official receipt was issued.”
Vannooten said it is shocking is that the suspension letter he received is vague and did not explain his wrongdoings in investigating the seizure of the smuggled chicken.
He said he has written to the Chairman of the board Rawle Lucas to have the board review the circumstances leading up to his suspension and also into departmental corruption.
Vannooten said he will allow due process in the matter, however he said that he has suffered gross embarrassment as a result of the suspension and also that he is now on the bread line for two months.