NamRA probes customs official

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NamRA probes customs official

WALVIS BAY – The customs official who owns, a shop that allegedly sells counterfeit clothing and shoes in Walvis Bay, is under investigation.

The Namibia Revenue Agency (NamRA) commissioner Sam Shivute yesterday, upon inquiry, told New Era the official, identified earlier as Pamela Smith, was also removed from her position due to the ongoing investigation.

The investigation was instituted after Walvis Bay residents and activists in May this year questioned NamRA after a shop belonging to Smith and her husband was not raided, while shops in close proximity of theirs were raided and had their counterfeit goods confiscated.

“The official was removed from her position, and investigations are currently underway. However, we need to know that everyone can be accused, but we need to investigate so you have facts to take the necessary steps, based on our findings,” Shivute explained during an engagement with the media at Walvis Bay.

Smith is responsible for the container control programme, which is responsible for enforcing the law on counterfeit goods.

It is believed that the couple was tipped off during the raid, as they were allegedly seen removing their branded items a day before the raid took place in May.  

As a result, their shop was also closed on the day of the raid, while Afro Fashion, a stone’s throw from the Smiths’ shop, was raided by customs officials, accompanied by Nike and Puma representatives.

The shop has since reopened.

Smith, when contacted in May, denied she is an employee of customs, while her husband denied knowing of the raid before abruptly ending the call.

“I was at the shop this morning. You can ask my rental agent and my alarm company as well… bye,” Basie Smith said, despite the shop being closed and its windows covered with newspapers. 

They were, however, operating the day before the raid.

Meanwhile, Shivute, when asked about lifestyle audits for NamRA officials yesterday, explained that anyone could be subjected to it.

“In fact, the Namibia Revenue Act makes provision that all officials, when signing their contracts, must declare their assets, which we did.  However, it can be done if discrepancies between someone’s income and what has been declared are detected. This does not only apply to NamRa officials but to each and everyone,” Shivute said.