Gov’t Drags Tax-Court Judge to Supreme Court

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    Reports reaching the Daily Observer  have it that the Supreme Court will on Monday, April 21, hear a plea by state lawyers who allege that Judge Mozart A. Chesson, of the Tax Court, “erroneously dismissed”  its US$14,912.91 tax evasion case brought against Krystal Oceanview Hotel.

    Besides seeking a probe into their allegation of “erroneous dismissal” against Judge Chesson, who argued his decision was based on “legal procedural errors,” the lawyers have also sought the quashing of his (Judge Chesson) decision to recommend the matter to the Board of Tax Appeal (BOTA).

    But, now, the Justice-in-Chambers, Phillip Banks will step in—in response to a plea— and listen to the state lawyers’ plea.

    Our source hinted to our reporter, that the Justice-in-Chambers pointed out that his hearing the plea is based on the state lawyers’ insistence on the matter being determined sooner.

    Earlier, according to our source, Judge Chesson’s  predecessor Judge Eva Mappy Morgan on January 24, 2012  had ruled the case to trial,  after she refused state lawyers’ request to augment its records, reducing the amount in question from US$14, 912.63 to US$8,073,061.73.

    Judge Morgan had not stayed to decide the matter and was replaced with Judge Mozart Chesson in 2013.

    Details of the case said, in 2011, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) complained to the Court, alleging that Krystal Oceanview Ocean had failed to properly file and pay 7% goods and service tax, and 2%presumptive and withholding taxes to the Government of Liberia, (GOL) in the amount of US$14,912.91 for the fiscal years 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

    Interestingly, the state lawyers on November 16, 2011, filed another motion before the court, contending that the amount of US$14,912.63, spelt out in its initial complaint, be changed to US$8,073,061.23.

    However,  lawyers representing the Hotel in response filed a motion to dismiss, requesting that the plaintiff’s amended complaint be dismissed on grounds that the plaintiff be denied the benefit of an amendment, suggesting that it would be in violation of Chapter 9, Section 9.10 Paragraph (a ) (b) and (c).

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