Mar 19, 2015, 10:30 AM
The Tax Commission yesterday resumed it sittings at the High Court Complex in Banjul with more legal practitioners giving evidence before it.
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 Gambia Revenue Authority.
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.
Salieu Taal, a private legal practitioner called to the bar in 2001, adduced that he was a house lawyer at GTBank.
He added that from 2004 to 31 December 2011, he had paid his income tax and promised to provide the photocopies of the assessment of his income tax, stating that he was paying his income tax as and when due.
He said he had paid surplus when he was being assessed on his gross income, but now he was assessed on his net income tax and the receipts of his income tax payment were tendered and marked by the commission.
Gaye Sowe, a lawyer by profession at the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa, stated that he had worked as a magistrate from 1998 to 2005.
He said from 2005 to date he is working at IHRD and, according to him, the institution has a diplomatic status and he read the letter awarding the diplomatic status to the IHRD.
He made reference to the laws that exempted the office and the servants of the international organizations with the diplomatic status.
Photo-copies of the documents were tendered and marked by the commission.
Lamin Kebba Mboge
Lamin Kebba Mboge said he was called to the bar in 1994, and from 1994 to 1998 served as a magistrate, adding that from 1998, he was practicing as a private legal practitioner and that he was paying his tax as and when due.
LK Mboge added that the receipts in his office were flooded due to the tap that was left opened during working hours, as a result of which he lost his file and his income tax receipts, and this was in 2009.
He said his 2011 receipt could not be traced, because he moved his office from Brikama to Brusubi and from Brusubi back to Brikama, adding that he has arrears for only 2011.
Bai Matarr Drammeh
Bai Matarr Drammeh of the 3D Consulting Service said it was formed in 1999, and it was registered as a company, but it does not exist as a business.
He produced the folder of the document showing what 3D Consulting does, and was asked to come back on 18th January 2012, and bring the registration document of 3D Consulting.
Borry S. Touray
Borry S. Touray, also a private legal practitioner called to the bar in 2000, said that he was a magistrate from 1995 to 2001.
He added that in 2001, he joined Amie Bensouda’s Chambers for three to four years, and said he made some payments which was conclusive on his tax liability.
He added that 2008 and 2009 are yet to be assessed, and also informed the commission that he has two clerks and has paid for them.
He promised to tender his remaining receipts.
Moses B. Johnson Richards
Moses B. Johnson Richards, a private legal practitioner called to the bar in 2002, told the commission that he was a magistrate from 2001 to 2008, and later appointed as a high court judge.
He said when he started his private practice in 2010, he wrote a letter to the GRA, asking for the permission of deferment but they never wrote back to him.
He added that he only got a verbal reply that the permission was granted, adding that as at now he has settled all his arrears and tendered his payment receipts to the commission.
Babucarr Yusupha Camara
Babucarr Yusupha Camara told the commission that he was called to the Bar in 1999, and he was a magistrate in 1996 and a High Court Master from 2001 to 2006, and from 2007 to 2008 a Principal Magistrate.
He said he was later a high court judge, adding that he was terminated in September 2010, and since then he was not working, but later secured a part-time job as lecturer at the University of The Gambia.
The commission continues on 16 January 2012.