May 8, 2015
Comptroller did not breach any customs law – Director General of Finance and Planning

Comptroller of Customs Grenville John did not breach any customs law nor did he act in any manner which compromised his integrity when he imported a vehicle almost three months ago.

This is the finding of the director general of Finance and Planning Maurice {{more}}Edwards, which was related to the media on Tuesday.

“A detailed report came with statements from the comptroller and other customs officers. The director general sent me that report with a covering letter saying that having perused all the documentation, he is satisfied that the comptroller of customs did not breach any customs law nor did he act in any manner which compromised his integrity,” he said.

In early February, information leaked from the customs department indicated that John had imported a Silver 2005 Suzuki Escudo without presenting an invoice to customs officials. Rather, he cleared the vehicle on the basis of a bill of sight, which led some persons to question whether the vehicle had been undervalued.

In giving an update on the matter, the Prime Minister revealed that he had requested and received a full report from John, which was discussed in Cabinet in the presence of the director general.

Gonsalves told reporters that he had questioned the director general, who is John’s superior, as to why a document showing the transfer of money for the purchase of the vehicle was not shown as proof of what the comptroller paid for the vehicle. The Prime Minister said the director general was unsure of the answer to that question.

The Prime Minister stated that this is as far as the matter has gone.

He also said that he expects that the relevant authorities, including the Service Commissions Department, will address the matter of the customs officer who allegedly released the information relating to the importation of John’s vehicle to the media.

“My views generally speaking are known when these sorts of things happen.

“I don’t get involved in matters concerning this internal administrative business. That’s for department heads and for Service Commission,” Gonsalves said.