-To Explain Tax Clearance Processes
Criminal Court “C” has with immediate effect ordered the Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) and his Deputy to appear and explain the processes of obtaining tax clearance at the LRA.
This comes barely after government’s lawyers questioned the property evaluation bond posted by former Defense Minister Brownie Samukai and others on grounds that to substantiate said bond was self-assessed by the defendants and the values given to it is not correct.
While, defense counsels argued that, as far as they are concerned, they obtained a certificate from LRA, which presupposes that the LRA is satisfied with the assessment.
The court says it is not a staff of LRA to assessed the said property and that it does not know the procedure in obtaining a tax certificate of property, as such the obvious thing to do is to have key leaders of LRA Authority to appear in court and explain whether or not they have assessed the property in question or whether they have agreed with the amount stated as the assessed value of said property.
Such information will place the court in a proper position to determine whether the bond posted by the defendants is sufficient or insufficient noting “in our criminal status, the defendants posed a criminal appearance bond to secure their release.
“The clerk of the court is hereby ordered to issue a citation, ordering the appearance of the management of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) or its representative to appear before this court on the date and time mentioned supra to speak for the instrument subject of the bond.”
As per this mandate, LRA Executives will on next Monday, February 24, 2020, appear before that the court to briefly throw light on the procedure for obtaining tax clearance and to as well confirm whether or not the LRA agreed to the value of the property posted as bond for the defendants.
Subsequently, ruling on the motion to justify the bond was reserved pending the appearance of the Liberia Revenue Authority on February 24, 2020,
The court indicated that the essence of a criminal appearance bond under the law is to ensure the presence of the defendants in the court from day to day until the matter is determined.
At the same time, the court has granted defendant Brownie Samukai and other defendants request for bench trial after joining issues with the state and waiving their right to jury trial.
According to the court the right to be tried and not to be tried by jury squarely lies with the defendants and the court is left with no other alternative, but to honor the said request.
It can be recalled that an indictment was issued out of this court against the defendants, charging them with various crimes among which are theft of property, economic sabotage, misuse of public money, etc. TNR.