Tax authority warns public
The Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) has warned traders to have proper documentation when transporting goods across the border in order to curb corrupt practices that tend to increase during the festive season.
LRA Customs Officer, Tebello Makhechane, said the agency was in the process of enforcing measures to curb the “abhorrent” practice of Customs Officers accepting bribes and allowing goods to be transported into the country without the required duty being paid.
Mr Makhechane, who was speaking at a media breakfast held in Maseru yesterday, also urged the public to demand receipts for any transactions conducted within the country’s border posts as it was the responsibility of all parties to enforce accountability and eradicate corruption.
“We urge people to produce documents that account for every purchase and always demand receipts for anything they are being asked to pay for at the border because our officers are entitled to demand that you declare your goods for tax purposes,” he said.
Mr Makhechane also warned stakeholders to desist from inducing Customs Officers into accepting bribes as it was a crime punishable by law.
“At LRA, we exercise zero-tolerance on corruption as it is an offence. In the past, we have had a long line of officers who had fallen prey to the practice that eventually led to their dismissal from work,” he said.
he further urged traders to avoid any inconveniences when they arrive at designated customs posts by ensuring the tax invoices they produce are in their original form, dates do not exceed 90 days from the day the goods were purchased, and the invoice number, as well as 14 percent tax deduction, are visible.
Mr Makhechane, who also unveiled new border post schedules for the purpose of improving service delivery during the festive season, said the LRA was hoping to ensure a smooth flow of traffic during this busy time of the year.
“We have increased staff at big borders in Maseru and Maputsoe, which will retain their normal 24-hour operating times, as well as smaller ones, including Peka, Sephapho, Makhaleng, Tele, Ramatseliso.
These will however, retain their normal times.
“We have also increased staff and extended operating hours in Caledonspoort (ButhaButhe district ), Van Rooi (Mafeteng district), Tele (Quthing district) and Qacha’s Nek district.
“From 19 December, Van Rooi will operate from 6am to 12 midnight and on 24 December, it will not close while from 4 to 5 Janu- ary 2015, it will operate from 6 am to 12 midnight.
“In Qacha, from 22 to 24 December, the border will open at 6 am and close at 10 pm.
“Butha-buthe border will not close on 24December and 4 January 2015.
“Sani pass border will extend closing time from 6pm to 10 pm and open at 6am,” he said.
lra has warned the public not to engage in corrupt practices at the country's borders.