oasseal.jpg (2698 bytes)

G E N E R A L      S E C R E T A R I A T




The OAS General Secretariat ("GS/OAS") enjoys privileges and immunities in the Member States to facilitate the performance of the Organization's functions and the achievement of its purposes. Regarding those privileges and immunities, Staff Rule 101.9 provides:

Any and all privileges and immunities accorded to staff members by the Member States, by way of agreement, legislation, or custom and practice, are granted in the interests of the General Secretariat and not for the personal benefit of the individuals themselves. The Secretary General may waive the immunity of any staff member in any case, where in the Secretary General's opinion, the immunity would impede the course of justice and can be waived without prejudice to the interests of the organization.

One of the privileges and immunities afforded GS/OAS with respect to certain staff members who are not nationals or permanent residents of the State in which they serve is the exemption from import duties and taxes in importing or purchasing an automobile for personal use. In Recommendation No. 10 of Internal Audit Report SG/OIG/Audit 11/97, the Inspector General recommended that the use of the exemption should be regulated more closely. The regulations set out in this Administrative Memorandum are intended to respond to that Recommendation.


1. As a condition to importing or purchasing any vehicle for personal use exempt from taxes or import duties pursuant to exemptions granted to the GS/OAS by way of agreement or national legislation, a staff member must submit to the Office of the Assistant Secretary General a sworn affidavit, with supporting documentation (including the purchase and sale agreement, bill of lading, exemption application to revenue authorities), which contains:

(a) the original purchase price paid by the staff member for the motor vehicle, and the name and address of the person(s) or entity (ies) from whom the motor vehicle was purchased;

(b) the amount of the exemption requested and granted from taxes and/or import duties for the motor vehicle pursuant to the GS/OAS' privileges and immunities;

(c) an unconditional commitment to submit another sworn affidavit to the Office of the Assistant Secretary General upon the disposition of the motor vehicle by sale, lease, or other transfer to another in which the staff member will state: (i) the name, address, and telephone number of the person(s) or other entity to whom the motor vehicle was sold, leased, or otherwise transferred; (ii) a description of the disposition (e.g., sale, gift, or lease); (iii) the date of the disposition; and (iv) the total compensation received (or to be received, as applicable) upon the disposition of the motor vehicle; and

(d) an unconditional commitment to remit to the General Secretariat within thirty days of the disposition of that motor vehicle any amount of the consideration received in excess of the staff member's original purchase price of the motor vehicle, as adjusted in accordance with Paragraphs 3 and 4 below.

2. Within thirty days of the disposition of a motor vehicle covered by the preceding Paragraph, the staff member will comply with the commitments undertaken pursuant to Subparagraphs 1(c) and 1(d) above.

3. A staff member may deduct from the amount owed under Paragraph 1(d) the amount of taxes and/or import duties the staff member previously paid in purchasing or importing any motor vehicle(s) in the duty station for the staff member's primary dependents (as defined in Staff Rule 103.16, provided that:

a. the staff member files promptly with the Office of the Assistant Secretary General a sworn affidavit stating: (i) the amount of money which he is retaining and the basis for its retention; and (ii) the date(s) of purchase of any motor vehicle(s) purchased for primary dependents upon which import duties or taxes were paid to the government of the duty station, the name of the primary dependent(s) for whom the motor vehicle(s) was/were purchased, the purchase price of each such vehicle, and the amount of duties and taxes paid;

b. the staff member includes with his filing supporting documentation verifying the information set out in the affidavit, including purchase and sale agreements, bills of sale, receipts for duties and taxes paid, bills of lading, and other similar records as may be requested by GS/OAS; and

c. the staff member has not previously used the taxes and import duties paid on those other vehicles to reduce the amount he owes the Secretariat under paragraphs 1(d) and 2 above.

4. A staff member may also deduct from the amount owed under Paragraph 1(d) the amount, if any, directly attributable to market appreciation in the value of the motor vehicle not directly related to the exemptions from import duties and taxes received, provided that the staff member submits with the documentation required under Paragraph 3(b) an appraisal verifying such appreciation from an expert appraiser or reputable dealer who markets that vehicle model in the duty station.

5. The submission of any false statements or documents in relation to these regulations may give rise to the application of disciplinary measures under the Staff Rules, including summary dismissal.

6. Any action by a staff member regarding the importation, purchase, lease, sale, or other transfer of a motor vehicle in violation or in subterfuge of the laws of an OAS Member State may give rise to the application of disciplinary measures under the Staff Rules, including summary dismissal.

7. The Office of the Assistant Secretary General shall review all affidavits and documentation provided, shall monitor compliance with these Regulations, and will forward to the Department of Human Resources originals and or copies of those documents for filing in the staff member's personnel file.


By way of this Administrative Memorandum, all rules, regulations, instructions, ad practices of the General Secretariat that run counter to these provisions are hereby rescinded.


This Administrative Memorandum shall enter into force on the date of its signature and with the exception of operative paragraph 6, applies only to purchases and importations of motor vehicles with exemptions from duties and taxes after that date.



James R. Harding
Assistant Secretary for Management

Date: October 15, 1997
Original: English