By Omar Bah
The leader of United Democratic Party has lost his appeal against the findings of the Commission of Inquiry into tax evasion at the Supreme Court yesterday.
The Commission was established in November 2011 by Yahya Jammeh to look into tax evasion and other corrupt practices of accountants, legal practitioners, companies, and private persons, medical practitioners and institutions required to pay tax to the GRA.
The Commission found Ousainu Darboe liable of tax evasion to the tune of D1, 981, 296, 52 which Darboe appealed against.
However yesterday, Justice M.M. Sey of the Supreme Court ruled that the Commission of Inquiry was right in finding Mr Darboe liable for tax evasion.
Although Mr Darboe had contended that the delay of payment of tax does not constitute tax evasion, the Supreme Court supported the decisions of the Commission which indicates that Mr Darboe was paying his tax as arrears for the purpose of nomination in elections.
The Superior Court also contended that Darboe was not compliant with the tax laws and that he has tax arrears which he failed to pay.
“The Commission of Inquiry was right, consistent and the findings were supported by evidence,” Justice Sey contended.
The court ordered Darboe to pay the tax arrears he owed.
Darboe had initially appealed against the decision of the Commission at the Court of Appeal in 2012 but the Court dismissed his claims after which he went onto to make an appeal at the Supreme Court.
He contended that the Commission does not have the power to review his tax; that the power to assess is only with the Commissioner General of GRA.
But Justice MM Sey adduced that pursuant to paragraph 3 of the Legal Notice establishing the Commission and section 200 of the Constitution, the Commission has the power to review taxes. She henceforth dismissed Darboe’s challenge on the jurisdiction of the Commission to review taxes.
“The Commission has the power to assess and reassess the appellant’s (Darboe’s) tax liabilities. The powers to assess and reassess is both for the Commission of Inquiry and the Commissioner General. The Legal Notice conferred the Commission the power to reassess the tax liability.”