A Critical Analysis of Effectiveness of Tax Offences Control Mechanisms Under Rwandan Law
par Charles KABERA
Kigali Independent University - LLB 2008
(i) Offences by Taxpayer
According to article 215 of Customs law, the general principles of Criminal Law apply to Customs offences, unless provided otherwise by this Law19(*).
Article 216 of Customs law lists the following as the Customs Offences:
· smuggling of goods subject to duties;
· smuggling of prohibited or restricted goods;
· importation under declaration of prohibited or restricted goods using false or fraudulently obtained documents;
· incorrect declaration of goods aimed at reducing import duties, established subsequent to clearance of the goods;
· incorrect declaration of goods established subsequent to clearance of the goods;
· use or issue of false documents in view of evading duties;
· smuggling or incorrect declaration of goods not subject to duties;
· incorrect declaration of goods or use or issue of incorrect documents in view of obtaining refund or drawback of duties;
· unauthorized removal of goods from customs supervision;
· use of goods for purposes other than those for which favourable tariff treatment, suspension or total or partial exemption of customs duties and taxes is granted;
· unlawful removal of goods from the customs procedure under which they were placed;
· failure to discharge a customs procedure within the prescribed time limit;
· unauthorized handling of goods in a bonded warehouse;
· removal of seals or of any other distinctive signs, affixed for control purposes by Customs officers on means of transport, packages, containers, etc;
· breach of quality and packing standards at importation or exportation;
· non-compliance with requests or orders of Customs officers and resistance or obstruction to Customs officers in performing their duties;
· failure to keep mandatory documents, or to produce them on request by a Customs officer;
Under Rwandan customs law, Customs offences are sanctioned with imprisonment, fines, confiscation. In addition to these Penal sanctions, customs offences may be subject to administrative measures.
(ii) Offences by Officers
Unfortunately, Rwandan tax laws do not give provision for offences by tax officers. However the According to EAC CMA provides the following offences:
· A person who directly or indirectly asks for, or takes, in connection with any of his or her duties any payment or other reward, enters into any agreement to do, abstain from doing, permit, conceal, or connive at, any act or thing whereby the Customs revenue is or may be defrauded, or which is contrary to the provisions of this Act or the proper execution of his duty, commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years.
· A person who directly or indirectly offers, or gives to any officer any payment or reward, Proposes or enters into any agreement with any officer in order to induce him/her to do, abstain from doing, permit, conceal, or connive at, any act whereby customs revenue is defrauded or which is contrary to the provisions of this Act or the proper execution of his duty, commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years. A person who discloses, except for the purposes of this Act or when required to do so as a witness in any court or with the approval of the Commissioner, any information acquired by him or her in the performance of his or her duties relating to any person, firm, or business of any kind commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to both such fine and imprisonment.
* 19 Law number 28/04/2006 - law n° 21/2006 establishing the customs system
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