By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Investigations being carried out by the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) surrounding two Lexus vehicles alleged to be at the center of a multimillion dollar tax fraud have now taken an interesting turn.
According to Commissioner General of GRA, Khursid Sattaur, what started out as an ordinary, routine exercise in wake of allegations“against the agency’s integrity” may now see Publisher of Kaieteur News, Glen Lall being investigated to determine his stakes in the matter.
Speaking exclusively to iNews today [Tuesday, September 02], Sattaur said the GRA has no evidence to show that Lall is involved but said based on the publicity and charade surrounding the issue coming from Lall, investigations will be done to determine his involvement.
“It appears to me that the probe now has to be channeled into the direction if he funded these people,” Sattaur said.
It is believed that Lall purchased the vehicles and imported them using the re – migrant couple, thereby cheating the GRA millions in taxes.
“That has more implications… I don’t know why he [Lall] is doing this to himself, he seems to be directing the investigation from the publicity he is giving this matter,” Sattaur said.
He added, “We do this every day, we go after vehicles that are given concessions to ensure that it is being used for the purposes intended and given and it’s unfortunate that he is taking this thing so personal… the remigrant themselves are not making such a big issue about the vehicles.”
The couple is maintaining that there was no breach of the tax laws of Guyana.
In a statement at the weekend, the GRA Head has pointed out that for the vehicles which cost approximately US$90,000 each would have attracted taxes of approximately US$251,000 (GYD$51M); adding that the total taxes that were evaded are close to $100M.
GRA also took possession of the two vehicles at the weekend pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation.
“They supposed to have paid US$90,000 for each vehicle and they should be distraught because it’s their hard earned money and they will be called upon to pay additional $100M taxes,” the GRA Head added.
He denied that there was any personal attack being launched against Lall for the reporting his publication did on Chinese Logging Company – Bai Shan Lin – and the millions in taxes he reportedly waived for the Company on several imported vehicles.
“It remains a strange development; he seems to want to link it with Bai Shan Lin and other red herrings.”
Sattaur counter alleged that Lall, through his daily papers, is attacking him personally which he said was uncalled for and highly unethical.
“This does not happen in any part of the world, where an ordinary citizen can malign the Head of a tax agency and get away with it. I reported this matter and I see no action taken, they have laws to protect me and I don’t see anything happening, I see him on a daily basis reporting against me,” Sattaur said.
The GRA Head restated that the investigation would take a different turn “in terms of this man’s [Llall] tenacity in wanting to have a connection with the vehicles.
He believes the only connection Lall should have is one in which he is using the vehicles as a favour.