Lebanese company imports ‘iron rod’ from Ivory Coast… A case for ACC
A Lebanese trading company known as BENCO has admitted importing tons of iron rods from the city of Abidjan in April at a time civilian movement was restricted due to heavy fighting between forces of Alassan Outtara and those of Laurent Gbagbo.
Sierra Express Media newspaper has learnt from usually dependable sources at Water Quay that they smelled rat in the whole conduct of that importation.
Apart from the fact that Ivory Coast is not a known exporter of iron rod, our sources averred that only a fool can believe that any businessman can go into Abidjan in April when it was difficult to see non combatants on the streets, buy iron rod or any export goods for that matter and load it on a ship to be shipped out of the country.
Wondering what could be the motive of BENCO, a company owned by one Mr. Jihad, a senior customs official told this press that such an entry or papers could be arranged to benefit from an ECOWAS trade liberalization policy that exempts duty on importation between member countries when, in actual fact, the goods may have been imported from a non-ECOWAS country.
When Sierra Express Media visited BENCO’s head office at No. 1 Wilberforce Street on Monday afternoon, a man who identified himself as Patrick Sheriff and who claims to be the chairman of the company admitted that the said importation did take place.
Asked how they could possibly do business in the city of Abidjan under the heat of war, he said business was best under war.
The so called company known as Acieries de Cote d’Ivoire where BENCO allegedly bought the iron rod could not be traced after all the efforts made by this newspaper.
Quite a number of Lebanese companies have been nabbed in recent times dogging duty or tax.
The Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) needs to set up an investigation to verily bring to light conspiratorial conducts of some custom officials and several Lebanese business people nay depriving Sierra Leone of billions.
More details next edition.
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