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DateLine Thursday, 18 October 2007

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Letter:

Data collection by Inland Revenue

I understand that officials of the Department of Inland Revenue are visiting houses, and collecting information from the residents pertaining to their income, wealth etc.

Even if the residents claim having submitted the latest Return of Income, the officials are demanding direct information from them.

We, tax payers have no objection to information being collected by the Department of Inland Revenue in this manner. However, the Department should ensure that bogus persons do not take advantage of this action for their benefit.

At present we are aware of several incidents where persons posing off as officials from the police, armed forces, intelligence unit etc., have gained entry into houses and robbed the residents.

Even though the public have been advised to verify the identity of such persons before permitting them to enter their houses, this has not been successful as there are lots of facilities available for impersonation.

In addition, the public fear that the valuable information collected by such bogus persons may be conveyed to fraudulent parties.

Therefore, I suggest the following steps be taken by the Department of Inland Revenue prior to sending their officials on this mission:

(1) Issue letters of authority in all three languages to the visiting officials with their photographs, certifying their names, designations, National Identity Card Nos. etc.

(2) Issue a press notice giving the names, designations and contact telephone Nos. of Officers of the Department with whom the public can cross check the identity of the visiting officers. The residents cannot rely on such information given by the visiting officer himself, as he may produce false details in sup port of his identity.

(3) Since these officers are visiting residences, it is important there is at least one lady officer in the team.

(4) Strict instructions should be given to the officers to be courteous when collecting the information.

(5) The public should be assured that the Department is not conducting a raid, but only collecting direct information.

By adhering to the above, the Department could ensure full co-operation from the public in furnishing the required particular.

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Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
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