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Customs graft costing Lebanese Treasury $400m a year

Customs graft costing Lebanese Treasury $400m a year

BEIRUT: Widespread corruption at the Customs Department is costing the Treasury more than $400 million in lost revenues each year and has further tarnished Lebanon’s image among investors and Western countries, experts, economists and merchants have revealed.

“The corruption at Customs is quite serious and this problem has grown over the past two years due to the absence of the state,” the general manager of a maritime company said on condition of anonymity.

Experts familiar with developments at the airport and Beirut port stress that many importers and clearance offices are engaged in such practices.

Some observers pointed to a recent sit-in and strike held by several shipping and clearance offices in solidarity with the acting director of the Customs Department as an indication of their collusion in corruption.