A British national, Robert Baines, who owns the construction company, R and B Group Incorporated, is currently undergoing an investigation by both officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) and the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) for alleged tax evasion.
Yesterday morning the combined officers of the LNP and LRA, accompanied by a sheriff from the Paynesville Magistrate Court, stormed Baines’s Congo Town residence based on a search and seizure warrant issued by the court. During the process, the sheriff confiscated several documents and a laptop.
Some men, who identified themselves as ‘employees’ of R and B Group attempted to disrupt the court’s order, but were subdued by the LNP officers, who took control of the situation.
The process, which lasted for about an hour, ended with the officers retrieving other personal documents of Baines.
What surprised many of the bystanders was that Baines himself was not arrested during the exercise. It was not clear what was behind the decision not to arrest him.
Immediately after effecting the court order, Sam Gaye, senior security investigation consultant for the LRA, who headed the team, described the process as “successful,” adding that “Baines cooperated with us.”
Mr. Gaye told journalists, who were not allowed to enter the compound during the search and seizure, that their action was based on tip-off the LRA received regarding Baines’ tax evasion allegation.
The LRA investigator said, “We are acting under a tip-off, but if we find out that [Baines] actually committed tax fraud, we are going to send him to court.”
“We are not joking with tax evaders, because we are going to ensure that every tax payer is made to pay their legitimate taxes without any favouritism,” Gaye said.
Gaye did not say exactly how much Mr. Baines owed, but put the amount at a little over a million United States dollars.
“Similar search and seizure exercise is going on at the R and B Group compound in Grand Bassa County,” the LRA security consultant claimed, adding, “we will not rest until we can get to the bottom of the act and if any of our employees is involved, we are going to deal with them.”