By Omar Bah
ASP Foday Conta the assistant PRO of the Gambia police has confirmed to QTV that the police investigations into the GFF tax fraud allegation has been completed and had revealed that the GFF is at fault for not paying tax on the particular contract.
Speaking to Reporter Alieu Ceesay Conta added: “We have investigated and we have sent our report to the AG Chambers and also the select committee of the national assembly on sport for their recommendations. In the investigation like it was promised by the office of the Inspector General of Police that the matter would be investigated before the 16 of the particular month which we have honored.
The findings are that GFF was in default of not paying tax of that particular contract to the Gambia Revenue Authority, which is in one way or the other a kind of fraudulent.
ASP Conta further told QTV that the advice from the AG Chambers is that let GRA put GFF to task for the money to be paid because at the end of the day this is all what we need for all monies that are owed to the state to be paid to the state.
In the same interview the GFF president Lamin Kaba Bjao said his office was not notified with the outcome of the investigations “I have not received any notification either verbal or writing” he said.
Mr Bajo however emphasized that he thinks it is an issue of GFF not paying tax and this should be clarified because it is not eluding tax and “we have said this time after time that we are not denying the fact that in this particular case we did not withhold tax and this is what came up in the investigation. And according to what we have read on the report it is the duty of the Commissioner General of GRA who is the custodian of the tax force to follow up and recover this tax either from the GFF or from the supplier.”
Asked what his office is doing to ensure that the tax is settled, he said that is no longer in the mandate of the GFF but that of the GRA.
“The investigations are now done we are waiting for the actions that GRA will enforce.” Further asked whether GFF has in anyway neglected in deducting the tax, Mr Bajo said: “I am not ashamed of saying that there was neglect because I have said it in many interviews that we did not deduct that particular withholding tax.
That is true but we did not do it in any particular motive because investigations did not prove that the money has gone into Kaba’s pockets or Omar’s pockets in that case it would have been faulty and then it would have become fraud but failing to pay tax cannot be call fraud,” Mr Bajo maintained.
AG chambers’ Opinion
Meanwhile The Standard also obtained a copy of the opinion of the Attorney General’s chambers on the police report on the GFF tax fraud allegations. In a letter addressed to the Inspector General of Police, who requested for their advise, the AG chambers gave the following opinion”
“Having perused the facts and evidence in the entire case file, it our opinion considered opinion that that conduct of the suspect (the Project manager) is condemnable as it is glaring that he deliberately or by willful negligence failed to withhold the 10 percent tax as required by the under section 89 (3) of the IVAT ACT. The total amount that the suspect. The project manager and the GFF were obliged to withhold from the two contracts are D959, 310.00 and D127, 0862. 40. This amount from evidence in the case file remains unpaid.
Pursuant to section 209 of the VAT Act, this amount is deemed as debt owed to the State. The IVAT Act also confers power on the Commissioner General to institute proceedings against the GFF for the tax outstanding.
In the light of the above it is our humble opinion that since the objective of the tax regime is to the said sum and any interest or penalty it may accrue… We humbly recommenced that this matter be referred to the GRA for the Commissioner General to invoke its tax recovery mechanism to recover the said sum.”
Meanwhile the deputy Commissioner General Essa Jallow has also been in in the media explaining the issue. According to Mr Jallow the GFF had been regularly paying tax but in this instance they were non- compliant by not deducting tax. “However the state has not lost revenue on the matter because the GRA had taken its mandate to pursue the tax from the GFF and that process has since started and on going,” Mr Jallow said.