DPM: Investigation launched after goods seized from vessel

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest yesterday confirmed that an investigation has been launched into a vessel that brought goods into The Bahamas over the weekend.

The goods were seized by the Department of Customs pending a “review and determination of action”, according to the minister.

However, Turnquest did not confirm reports that the boat in question was a Royal Bahamas Defense Force vessel that recently underwent a refitting in Florida.

According to the finance minister, the investigation is being conducted by the Revenue Enhancement Unit.

According to sources, the vessel was loaded with building supplies and other goods.

“The customs investigation team assigned to the Ministry of Finance’s Revenue Enhancement Unit conducted an operation in the Coral Harbour area of New Providence on Sunday, July 21, 2019, which resulted in the seizure of goods pending review and determination of action,” Turnquest said in a statement.

“The matter has been referred for further investigation to assess compliance with prevailing customs laws and regulations. The investigation is ongoing.”

In January, the Ministry of Finance established a project team charged with the responsibility to address non-compliance with the tax and customs laws in The Bahamas.

It was expected that the work of the team would have a significant impact on tax compliance in The Bahamas — a critical component of the ministry’s fiscal strategy plan.

The unit is also expected to level the playing field for businesses, ensuring tax compliance across the board and removing any competitive advantage among businesses who fail to pay taxes.

The deputy prime minister said that the Revenue Enhancement Unit will continue ongoing efforts to strengthen revenue collection and compliance in keeping with its mandate.