The National Revenue Authority has distanced itself from what appears to be a fraudulent business scheme engineered by the chairman of the Traders’ Union and backed by senior government officials.
Last week, Eye Radio learnt that businessman Ayii Duang has secured what some government institutions called “Letter of no Rejection” approval to register both foreign and local traders in the country.
According to the letters seen by Eye Radio, Ayii Duang wants to screen all the traders in the 32 states plus Abyei administrative area.
Ayii, who owns hotels and an airline, demands that every trader be registered for a fee.
Each foreign trader must pay $100; while a local trader, 10,000 Pounds.
He told the state-run SSBC television that he would use the money to deliver services to citizens of South Sudan.
This proposal has been approved by various government institutions, including the ministry of finance and economic planning; the directorate of immigration, passport and nationality; the directorate of traffic police; and the ministry of trade and investment.
The mayor of Juba city council was also in agreement with the scam until his Deputy Mayor for Land and Development, Thiik Thiik Mayardit, advised against it, saying it lacks legal basis.
In his letter, the middle-aged man said the Office of the President has also given him a green light to screen traders – a project that would him raise tens of millions of US dollars.
Eye Radio then sought views from the National Revenue Authority, the institution in charge of revenue collection.
“We’ve not given a mandate to anybody to collect taxes or anything for anything on behalf of the revenue authority from any trader,” Dr. Olympio Attipoe, NRA commissioner-general stated.
“The Trader’s Union cannot represent the government to collect taxes from the traders on behalf of government.”
The government officials who have given tycoon Ayii Duang permission to illegally and forcefully collect registration fee from traders include, Gen Kon John Akot, the director of traffic police; John Akot Maluth, the director of immigration, passport and nationality; Salvatore Garang Mabiordit, the minister of finance and economic planning.
Others are Honorable Dr. David Nailo Mayo, chairman of the committee of finance and economic planning at the Transitional National Legislative Assembly; Maj.-Gen. Akol Ayii Madut, director-general of Customs Service.
Meanwhile, some traders have expressed disappointment over the proposal.
“A businessman cannot screen another businessman,” said an angry trader named John (real name withheld).
Others registered fears, saying it would make the traders increase market prices to recover the “lost money”.
An importer told Eye Radio that: “Once the proposal is implemented, I would have no choice but raise prices of the goods in order to get back money taken by Ayii.”
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