Clearing Agents in Rwanda require a license from Rwanda Revenue Authority. The licensing procedure is as follows
When you apply for the first time, the licensing Officer receives the application by stamping “received” on the face of the application and forward it to the Licensing Officer.
- The Licensing Officer assigns each file a reference number.
- He/she records the application in a register. The details in the register shall include: name of the applicant, names of the directors/partners and contact details (postal address, physical address and phone numbers).
- He/she vets the application to ensure all the supporting documents have been submitted as specified in article 6 of this manual.
- He/she proposes interview dates.
- He/she prepares an internal memo to the heads of the various sections requiring them to attend as members of the interviewing panel. The memo shall include details as to date, time and venue of the interviews.
Renewals of the licenses
- He/she writes a memo to the heads of the various sections requiring them to forward a list of all companies with pending transactions (offence files, queries, outstanding bond securities).
- He/she then crosschecks the lists from the sections to establish whether the applicant has a pending query / transaction.
- He/she checks for compliance with any other conditions for renewal made by the Commissioner.
Role of Clearing Agents
A clearing agency assume the following duties:
- i) furnish, whenever required by Customs Administration, an authorization from each of the firms or persons by whom he is employed to act as their Customs Agent;
- ii) not represent a client in Customs in any matter which the licensee dealt as an officer or employee of Rwanda Revenue Authority or of the facts of which he gained knowledge while in Government service;
- iii) where he knows that a client has not complied with the law or has made any error in or omission from any document which the law requires such client to execute, advise his client promptly of the fact of such non-compliance, error or omission and immediately bring the matter to the notice of the appropriate officer of Customs in writing;
- iv) exercise due diligence to ascertain the correctness of any information which he imparts to a client with reference to any Customs operations;
- v) not withhold information relating to Customs operations from a client who is entitled to such information;
- vi) promptly pay over to Government when due, all sums received for payment of any duties, taxes or other debts or obligations owing to the Government and promptly account to his clients any money received for them from Government, or received from them in excess of Governmental, or the other charges properly payable in respect of the clients Customs operations
- vii) not attempt to influence the conduct of any officer of Customs in any matter pending before the Customs by the use of threat, false accusation, duress or the offer of any special inducement or promise of advantage, or of any gift or favour or other thing of value;
- viii) not procure or attempt to procure, directly or indirectly, information from Customs records or other Government sources of any kind to which access is not granted by proper authority;
- (ix) not employ in any capacity, with power of attorney, by delegation or otherwise, for the promotion of or in connection with the work relating to the licence:
- (a) any person whose application for licence or Customs Clearance identity card has been refused; or
- (b) any person whose licence or Customs clearance identity card has been revoked or whose conduct as a partner, manager, director, officer or servant has been the cause of the revocation of the licence or Customs Clearing agent identity Card;
- (x) not lend money to any officer or employee in the service of the Rwanda Revenue authority or become surety for the repayment of money borrowed by any such officer or employee; and
- (xi) inform the Customs administration any change of address before such change is effected.
Action in Case of Violations
Customs administration, by order, suspend or revoke a licence for any of the following reasons, namely:
- breach by the licensee of any provision of this procedure manual;
- negligence, dilatoriness or inefficiency of the licensee in the discharge of his/her obligations as such;
- unsatisfactory conduct or unfaithful behaviour of the licensee as regards the Customs regulations or against Customs officers or in relation to any person who has entrusted him with any business pertaining to the Customs Operations;
- failure of the licensee to comply with any of the bond executed by him under this procedure manual ;
- punishment of the licensee under Rwandan Penal Code;
- concealing, removing or destroying by the licensee of his financial or business records or refusing to allow an officer of Customs to inspect them and take extracts therefrom;
- attempting to influence the conduct of any employee in the Customs, by use of threat, false accusation, duress or the offer of any special inducement or by the bestowal of gift;
- failure of the licensee to exercise due diligence and care to apprehend and forestall an untrue declaration in respect of description, content, sort, quality or value of the imported goods by his client; and
- withholding by the licensee from the proper officer of Customs of any information, document or other evidence which is likely to prevent any fraud or evasion of customs duties and other taxes or dues and the circumvention or contravention of any restrictions imposed by any law for the time being in force.