LRA signs deal to improve efficiency

NEO SENOKO

MASERU – The Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) has partnered with other relevant institutions to improve efficiency and effective enforcement of the law.

To strengthen this cooperation, the LRA, with three law enforcement agencies including the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO), the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Wednesday this week.

The four institutions recognise the importance of attainment of full cooperation, coordination, complementarity and harmonisation of enforcement strategies and programmes, in particular, with regard to receiving, analysing and disseminating financial information, preventing and combating corruption, tax evasion and fraud, as well as cheating of public revenue and serious offences in general.

The institutions wish to co-ordinate their efforts within the framework of the mandates assigned to them, in terms of their constitutive statuses and in line with the provisions of the laws they administer and enforce in order to avoid duplication of efforts.

The MOU sets out a framework for the institutions to facilitate co-ordination, cooperation and mutual assistance in enforcement actions, investigations, preventive programmes and exchange of information as may be relevant for carrying out the laws administered by the institutions individually.

“These four institutions agree to undertake joint investigative, preventive programmes and enforcement endeavours in circumstances that may necessitate or justify the use of skills and resources of more than one institution.

“The institutions agree that full and timely exchange of information and intelligence is a critical element for purposes of each institution to effectively carry out its responsibilities as contemplated in this MOU,” the LRA’s Public Relations Manager Pheello Mphana said during the signing.

The institutions further agreed that, consistent with their separate roles, they will provide to each other the fullest mutual assistance within the framework of this MOU and as authorised by law in relation to the coordination, cooperation and mutual assistance in enforcement actions, investigations, preventive programmes and exchange of confidential or protected information.

The institutions also agreed to afford and lend each other the widest possible measure of mutual assistance in preventive programmes, investigations, enforcement actions and operations concerning the spheres of their individual mandates and areas of common interest.

Subject to the legal process and legislative restrictions placed on each institution regarding the release of confidential or protected information, information available to one institution which is relevant to the responsibilities of the other party will be shared as requested.

The institutions will provide relevant information to any other institution on a best endeavours basis, with consideration to the related degree of urgency.

“This will be subject to any relevant legal and operational considerations and any conditions which the institution providing the information might place upon the use or disclosure of the information,” Mphana also said.

As a general rule, each institution will not disclose any information obtained pursuant to this MOU to any third party, unless prior consent of the institution which has provided the information has been obtained and such disclosure is made subject to any conditions that the last mentioned institution may have prescribed.

The quartet believes that this memorandum will go a long way towards serving Basotho and providing the much needed harmony which is extremely critical.

More importantly, while three of the institutions have been here before, the MOU marked the inclusion of the FIU in the equation.    

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