Khalil: Corruption at Customs Costing State 1.2 Billion Dollars

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Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil pledged his intention to crackdown on corruption at customs agencies at various land and air border-crossings, reported As Safir newspaper on Thursday.

He revealed to the daily that corruption at the customs agencies have cost the state around 1.2 billion dollars.

Other estimates have placed this number at at least 700 million dollars annually.

As Safir said that four “central and mixed groups work at scamming customs at Beirut Port.”

These groups manipulate fees, forge documents, and exercise other illegal activity, it explained.

Others work on smuggling goods from land border-crossings with Syria, in cooperation with Syrian regime forces and even its rivals, said the daily.

At the Rafik Hariri International Airport meanwhile, its networks are dedicated to facilitating the entry of goods that have not been granted authorization by forged customs documents, it reported.

These goods are therefore not subject to inspection to determine whether they meet quality standards, it explained.

Two smuggling networks have been uncovered at the airport.

They both start in India and China and pass through Dubai and arrive in Lebanon.

These networks enjoy “political clout from the highest administrative levels,” added As Safir.

They include medium and regular rank employees, as well as some public sector officials at crossings, it continued.

Furthermore, Khalil said that the smuggling and counterfeiting mafias have “spies within customs agencies that allow them to become more powerful that official auditing networks.”

He revealed that he has received the majority of the information on corruption at customs agencies from victims of scams.

A sign of the corruption was demonstrated when 19 tons of spoiled shrimp was removed from a warehouse where they were being stored and later sold in the local market.

Lab tests had proven that they do not meet health standards and the warehouse had been sealed close.

Khalil revealed however that “someone had opened the depot door and allowed the food to be sold in violation of moral and legal principles.”

“The owner of the product had later unashamedly demanded that the fine against him, which did not exceed 20 million Lebanese pounds, be reduced,” he continued.

Given this reality, the minister had carried out a reshuffle at customs agencies, targeting 36 auditors, 34 officers, and 845 workers, reported As Safir.

He is determined to carry out routine reshuffles once every three months, it stated.

Moreover, 17 officials have since been referred to the judiciary for committing violations.

M.T.

H.K.

Comments 15
Missing humble 12 February 2015, 10:25

Ebola here, Ebola there....but always destroying the institutions.

Missing helicopter 12 February 2015, 17:14

Khalil is talking in the third person even though the most visible corruption is within ports controlled by Amal and HA (Sour Port is prime examplle, you can import cars through Sour and pay 20% of normal import tax).

Thumb _mowaten_ 12 February 2015, 19:23

Stupid comments, why would he be denouncing it and waging war against it if he or his allies had anything to do with it? Goes to show how biased and deluded you are, accusing the only ones fighting it of being behind it.

Missing humble 12 February 2015, 10:38

...and a traitor caporal supporting them in destroying the institutions and the christians.

Missing humble 12 February 2015, 10:51

So true.

Thumb _mowaten_ 12 February 2015, 19:23

Why? Because he/she used the word "houthians"?

Default-user-icon Import - export (Guest) 12 February 2015, 10:54

I was once asked : do you want to pay the official tax or the Hezbollah tax ? Guess which was cheaper !

Missing humble 12 February 2015, 11:57

The fruit is destroyed from within. The Ebola state in place of the state.

Default-user-icon roukuz (Guest) 12 February 2015, 17:10

I only post as roukuz (Guest).... May you rest in pieces and tranquility dear flamethrower.... RIP Shia Hero

Missing humble 12 February 2015, 11:58

I can understand Ebola which is Iranian, but cannot understand the caporal nor forgive him for destroying the Christians.

Thumb -phoenix1 12 February 2015, 12:53

Mr. Khalil, it will help a lot if people like you stopped talking topically about this issue. The truth is more like your party plus Hezbollah having juiced the system dry. Mr. Khalil, you must still believe that you are still talking to a retarded public that will absorb anything coming from you or that ex-resistance so called party of God. It is said, "thou shall not steal", and you guys have stolen almost everything there is to steal from this country. The law is jailing some people for as little as the theft of some milk and bread when you people have milked the law dry of all sense.

Thumb marcus 12 February 2015, 13:03

يا رب احمنا من الذي ينتحل اسمك وجعل لك حزبا

Thumb lebanon_first 12 February 2015, 15:04

Funny. I thought Khalil reported to Berri who is the thief in chief, and to his protector, the party of weapons who have institutionalized not paying customs.

Either they have made enough money and have more than they ever can spend. Or this "Crackdown" will disappear in a drawer very soon.

Thumb _mowaten_ 12 February 2015, 19:25

You just exposed yourself, ebay does not deliver in Lebanon.

Oh and before you start crying, I already told you: if you can't take a reply to your lies then stay in your room boy.

Thumb BritishLebanese 14 February 2015, 03:51

Smells fishy..