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Garages still in limbo after LRA crackdown

by Sunday Express
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LRA‘Mantoetse Maama
Maseru

Most garages which sell second-hand vehicles imported from Japan remained closed yesterday — more than a month after the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) launched a sweeping crackdown aimed at identifying and prosecuting those flouting import regulations.

The LRA had initially closed almost all the garages selling second-hand vehicles, but a few have since opened for business, reportedly after being cleared by the authority, but a larger percentage was still closed at the end of business yesterday.

The LRA has indicated it will not discuss its clients’ affairs with the media, while the affected entrepreneurs, who are mostly of Asian origin, would also not speak on record regarding the clampdown.

But those who spoke on condition of anonymity indicated the loss of business had left them with no choice but to leave the country, while their workers said they feared for their future.

“We just hope the matter will be resolved soon because we are being kept in suspense,” said a worker at one of the garages, who refused to be named.

“It was early January when LRA officers came to our premises and took all the invoices and receipt books in the office. After a few days they came again with an order, which they read out.

“They then asked us to vacate the premises and put a tape around our workplaceAt another garage, some G4Security guards were present, and claimed they had been deployed there by the LRA to monitor the situation.

“This garage had been closed, but has now been opened. Our company has been hired by the LRA to record information on all the vehicles being sold,” one of the security guards said.

“This was an agreement made by the LRA and the garage owners after there were some discrepancies on the company’s tax records.

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