LRA Tax Enforcement Turns Chaotic

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Police officer and Lichi worker tussling-web.jpg

Action by the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) to shut down a sand mining company on June 29 in Schefflin, Margibi County, for not complying with tax obligation, turned chaotic with a worker of the company and an officer of the Liberia National Police entering into a tussle.

The police officer authorized by LRA had gone to the river bank where the mining is done to confiscate the keys to the earth moving machine and boats mining the sand when a man (not named) blocked the officer from collecting the keys from the operator of the machine.

Both the man and officer were seen in far distance fighting as the officer tried to subdue him in handcuff. Some LRA tax enforcement officers rushed to the scene to assist the police officer and managed to subdue the man, after some minutes of tussle. He was arrested in handcuffs and then taken to the Schefflin police depot to be processed to court.

Speaking in an interview concerning the closure of the business, LRA chief legal counsel, Max T. Duncan told this paper that the sand mining company, Lichi Incorporated, is doing business in Montserrado and Margibi Counties, but has not been able to settle its tax obligation with the LRA.

According to Cllr. Duncan, Lichi has operated under more than two names with the intention to dupe government of taxes it should pay. He added that the LRA has written several communications inviting the management Lichi, Inc. to go for consultation, but the management has refused to honor the invitation.

He said the business entity owes government about US$61,656.21 in taxes and a fine of LD$400,000.

Cllr. Duncan said as LRA has seen the location of the business and knows the names under which it operates. The tax authority therefore decided to shut down the business for three days to allow the management to go to the Bureau of Tax Appeals or the Liberia Revenue Authority to settle the matter.

Lichi Incorporated is run by some Liberian and Chinese nationals. Its first registration was on April 19, 2013.

While at the scene of the operation, some documents were displayed indicating payments of US$10,000 on two occasions and US$2,000 on another occasion.

Meanwhile, the rage of LRA has been manifested in recent days. A few months back LRA arrested a Chinese national for not declaring some of the goods he imported into the country.

A Liberian was also arrested in May for siding with a Guinean to evade taxes when he allegedly installed a Liberian license plate on a vehicle brought from Guinea.

Last week LRA again arrested two Chinese businesspeople for allegedly conniving to divert duty free building materials imported for construction works at the Monrovia Vocational Training Center (MVTC) to the WJ Building Material Store on 15th Street for sale.

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