The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) last Saturday shut down several foreign businesses for failing to live up to their tax obligation and depriving the government of tax revenues.
The LRA, which is responsible to collect government’s revenues, obtained a writ of search and seizure warrant through the Ministry of Justice from the Monrovia Magisterial Court at the Temple of Justice.
The LRA Legal Counsel, Atty. Max T. Duncan, along with a few LRA staff and backed by court officers, were seen enforcing the court order on Broad and Randall Streets.
According to the court document, 18 defaulting businesses operated by Lebanese were affected.
Stipendiary Magistrate Kennedy Peabody, in his writ of search and seizure warrant to the sheriff of the court stated, “You are further commanded that upon the discovery of these items to bring them before this honorable court in keeping with law and make your returns and endorse at the back of this writ as to the form and manner of service thereof. And for so doing, this shall constitute your legal and sufficient authority.”
But lawyers representing some of the affected businesses told journalists that the search and seizure warrants used by LRA were unlawful.
Meanwhile, the LRA is warning all businesses operating in the Liberia, especially those which find themselves in similar situations, should quickly come and settle their liabilities because this is the last of the tools that “We are going to use to mobilize revenues and we don’t want to get to this point.”
“We (LRA) even preferred that businesses should be self-compliant without the authority having to take draconian actions, but if they failed, the law would take its course.”