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Medical clinics, others at Tax Commission as commission issues arrest warrant for Batimat top brass

Feb 9, 2012, 12:16 PM | Article By: Malamin Conteh

Wednesday saw the appearance of senior officials of some medical clinics, the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) and other companies at the Tax Commission sitting at the High Court premises in Banjul.

Established in November 2011 by President Yahya Jammeh, the commission of inquiry looks 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 was also mandated, among other things, to ascertain the extent of loss of public revenue resulting from non-payment of capital gains tax, personal income tax and sales tax; and to determine the role of individuals, groups and professional bodies in the evasion and avoidance of tax.

It will also enquire into professional malpractice by members of the public as it relates to obtaining goods through widespread issuance of false and dud cheques and other malpractices by members of professional bodies as these have affected foreign direct investment in The Gambia.

Hope Help Dental Service

Silvester Jammeh, a student at the University of the Gambia currently studying Psychology and overseeing Hope Help Dental Service, informed the commission that the Managing Director was out of the jurisdiction.

He added that the company was registered in 2007, and it was established in the same year, before tendering the business registration certificate and its renewal for 2009 and 2010.

He told the commission that a flood in the office resulted in the loss of some of the documents. Hope has four people on its payroll, including one doctor.

He then tendered receipts for income tax from 2007 to 2011, adding that sales tax was not collected from customers, because they render medical services.

The state counsel, at that juncture applied for the witness to provide the commission with evidence of payment of pay as you earn, and its deduction from 2009 to 2011, and for the witness to go to GRA to be assessed on sales tax.

Smile Dental Clinic

The managing director of Smile Dental Clinic, Melville George, told the commission that he qualified in 1971, and worked for the Government of The Gambia, before retiring voluntarily in 1995.

He then produced a document to support his claim that he had worked for the Government of the Gambia, which was tendered.

He explained that his clinic was registered in 2009, adding that his business registration was not with him, but tendered his business renewal certificate from 2009 to 2011, and his income tax from 2009 to 2011.

Mr. George informed the commission that he had information that in providing medical service he was exempted from paying sales tax.

He also tendered his staff deductions of pay as you earn schedules from 2009 to 2011, noting that he had 2 doctors and 3 branches, all of whom are on the payroll.

He was then ordered to provide the commission with his certificate that exempted him from paying sales tax, failing which he shall go to GRA to be assessed on his sales tax.

Sweden Dental Clinic

The managing director of Sweden Dental Clinic, Lamin Kebbeh, also told the commission that the clinic was registered between 1991 and 1992.

Photocopies of the business registration and its renewal were tendered, adding that the clinic is owned by an individual and currently they have only one staff.

He also tendered his evidence of payment of income tax, with its assessment from 1999 to 2011.

He added that they did not register for the sales tax, because they do not do any sales, and an original copy of a letter from the Sweden Dental Clinic addressed to the GRA, and its evidence of payment of PAYE, as well as its schedules from 2005 to 2011, were all tendered.

Mbowen Clinic

Dr. Tamsir Mbowe, owner of the Mbowen Clinic, who was earlier ordered by the commission to go to GRA and be assessed for sales tax, since his clinic was deemed not to be a charitable clinic, provided the commission with the sales tax and his certificate of incorporation, which were tendered.

Lemance Dental Clinic

Emmanuel Bamgbedou, managing director of Lemance Dental Clinic, told the commission that he is a dental surgeon who qualified in 1981, stating that he registered his business in 2008, and is a part-time clinic.

He said he worked at the RVTH Hospital in Banjul, as the head of the dental unit, adding that he rendered dental services and has two people working under him, before tendering his income tax from 2008 to 2011, including the penalty for late payment.

His remittance of pay as you earn for 2011, and his copy of personal income tax were tendered.

The state counsel, at that juncture, applied for the witness to produce his PAYE, and its deduction, as well as his clinic’s registration certificate.

GRA Official    

Meanwhile, Malamin Sanyang, commissioner of customs and excise, who was given a directive by the commission on 24 January 2012 to make available all the list of direct delivery to the commission from December 2007 to December 2011, also appeared.

He told the tax commission that he is the commissioner of customs and excise. He said the record of direct delivery was computerized, before producing the printouts of unpaid delivery from January 2007 to July 2010, the direct delivery trade, and paid direct delivery from 2010 to 2011, which were tendered.

He added that they assessed customs duty according to rates, pointing out that the unpaid direct delivery for 2010 and 2011, was D5, 564,884.74.

He revealed that, for example, the outstanding balance for Gacem Company was D78, 000 while the outstanding balance for MA Trading was D80, 000.

MFH Group

Fady Hochiemy, who represented the managing director of MFH Group, told the commission that the company was registered and is a sole proprietorship, adding that it deals in general goods.

He said the trading branches are Banjul Pharmacy, Sunu Kerr and LG Electronics and that they import goods from overseas, and have 250 staff.

Mr. Hochiemey further informed the commission that the sales taxes are paid upon the arrival of their goods at the customs.

He tendered income tax payment receipts from 1999 to 2011, evidence of pay as you earn from 1999 to 2011, articles of memorandum of association and the renewal of certificate of incorporation.

The commission at that juncture ordered him to provide evidence of payment of PAYE from 1999 to 2011, and a list of the members of staff.

Metalum Gambia Limited

The accountant of Metalum Gambia Limited, Alieu Faye, told the commission that the company was registered in 1987 and the certificate of incorporation was tendered.

The original copy of income tax receipts from 1999 to 2011, and sales tax from 1999 to 2004, were tendered.

He told the commission that they stopped sales tax in 2004, because they stopped manufacturing and they import their materials, before tendering his PAYE from 1999 to 2011.

The state counsel at that juncture applied for the witness to produce his business renewal registration certificate and the evidence of deduction of PAYE.

GRA Commissioner General

GRA Commissioner General Bakary Sanyang, who was earlier ordered by the commission to provide the commission with the list of the organizations that had paid their tax in arrears, furnished the commission with the required information, which was tendered.

He added that the grand total was D93 million plus.

Meanwhile, the tax commission has issued a warrant for the arrest of the managing director and the financial director of Batimat Limited, for failing to comply with summons issued by the commission for them to appear before the commission.