LRA Commissioner General Issues Stern Warning: ‘Don’t Pay Bribe’ – Pledges to Raise US$1 Billion Revenue in Two Years

LRA new Commissioner General, James Dorbor Jallah speaking to employees when he took over Friday morning

PAYNESVILLE – James Dorbor Jallah, the new Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority has sounded a warning to the business community, fellow government officials and commerce and internal staff that under his watch, it will not be business as usual.

By Francis G. Boayue – francisg.boayue.@frontpageafricaonline.com

At his commissioning ceremony as the new CG, Jallah called on the business community to engage in fair dealings with the LRA and not to resolve paying bribes as a means to get things done.

“We want to admonish the business people that if you do business properly, we will work for you. If you have a challenge and difficulty, come to us, we will try to solve those difficulties and challenges,” said Mr. Jallah.

“Don’t pay money for them. The challenges you may have can be resolved without using money. Just make sure your documents are in order. Don’t pay bribes. If you are abiding by the laws, there is no need to pay a bribe to obtain service from the government of Liberia.”

Jallah has had an illustrious career in both the governmental and non-governmental sector. He served as Executive Director of the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) during Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s administration. Prior to his appointment by President Joseph Nyumah Boakai as Commissioner General, Jallah served as Country Representative of Carter Center in Liberia.

He said under his watch, the LRA will review all of the incentives that have been provided to concession agreements and other investments to ensure they are in Liberia’s interest.

“And everything else going forward, we are going to review all of them to be able to give adequate advice in terms of revenue implications, and where we see that the rest of government wants to move in a direction that is not in the country’s best interest, we will go on record to officially object to it and make sure that we will not honor whatever comes from there.”

Jallah’s immediate predecessor, the late Thomas Doe Nah, like Jallah, upon taking over during the Weah-Taylor administration, promised to hit US$1 billion in revenue. Although he did not achieve that mark until his demise, the LRA generated over US$600 million in revenue five over successive years. The Weah-Taylor administration blamed the drawdown of the United Nation’s Peacekeeping mission, COVID-19 and the Ukraine war as stumbling blocks to this goal.  

Speaking at his commissioning ceremony held at the LRA office in Paynesville, Jallah said with the level of work done by his predecessor Thomas Doe Nah raising over US$600 million annually, he’s confident working with the staffs of LRA to raise the revenue to one billion in his first two year as Commissioner General.

“I am a firm believer and a very optimistic person, that in one year we are going to raise the revenue from US$600 million to one billion and in two years. We will raise the revenue to two billion,” LRA New boss said.

He further said that the LRA will no longer be an area for business as usual for “black deals,” adding that he will not allow his signature to be used in any way to support anything that doesn’t represent the interest of Liberia, as he pledged to collaborate with the entire staff, the business community, and other relevant stakeholders to foster transparency and accountability in the revenue collection process.

“They should be very mindful. Even if my powers are limited, I, as a person, under the code of conduct of the Republic of Liberia, will not allow my signature to be used in any way, manner or form that supports anything that does not uphold the best interest of the people of this country,” he said.

“To the business community, please do the needful by making sure your documents are accurate and there shouldn’t be any other reason for bribery to fast-track any transaction at the LRA, because we are here because of you and committed to ensure a smooth and active working relationship with you without taking bribes.”

Mr. Jallah, as head of the tax authority, inspired staff to remain committed, steadfast and diligent in their duties in order to boost revenue collection for the development of Liberia.

He further applauded employees for the work done over the years, and noted that it was time to take their energy level even further.  CG Jallah emphasized the importance of staff’s commitment and integrity in carrying out their duties as the bedrock for the new LRA.

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