A US$190,800 tax fraud claim against Musa Bility, president of Liberia Football Association (LFA), recently took a different turn when the Tax Court demanded that he pay the 6 percent (US$10,800) interest as agreed on.
Bility is president and CEO of Srimex, a company dealing in petroleum products that is at the center of the fraud allegation.
Bility is also the owner of Renaissance Communications, Incorporated (RCI), which operates the Truth FM Radio, Real TV, and Renaissance Newspaper.
The legal argument came after Bility admitted to the tax fraud and agreed to pay the interest as part of a provisional deal to settle the charges by the government that he evaded taxes in the amount of US$190,800.
Bility has made several payments through the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) leaving a balance of US$94,710 without the knowledge of the court, which prompted Judge Chesson to demand his portion of the money – the 6 percent interest initially agreed on.
Bility’s payment was due to his request for reconciliation between the LRA and the petroleum company that led to the series of payments, which Chesson approved.
When the parties (Bility and LRA) last week presented their approved reconciliation statement to Chesson at the court, the 6 percent interest was excluded, which caused the judge to demand that it should be paid immediately, despite the parties’ initial agreement to Bility’s willingness to pay the 6 percent interest.
It was based on the 6 percent omission that Judge Chesson while ruling on the issue, said: “We observe that the 6 percent interest payment has not been accrued (accumulated) and the court will calculate the interest on the judgment that was rendered in 2012.”
Besides the 6 percent issue, Chesson raised dissatisfaction with the reconciliation, of which a check dated June 17, 2017 in the amount of US$28,590 was paid on June 20, 2017.
But according to Chesson, the parties (Bility and LRA) failed to present the US$28,590 check as part of the reconciliation statement when they appeared before the court.
“Bility and LRA did not present the check for the amount of US$28,590 on the reconciliation on June 20, 2017 as reflected in the joint statement, but the court does not see the payment dated June 17, 2017 as reflected in the statement,” Chesson argued.
Therefore Chesson mandated that both Bility and LRA appear on Monday, October 23, with a submission regarding the inclusion of the June 17, 2017 check.
The case started on May 3, 2010 when the government filed a complaint against Gulf Trading and Srimex Enterprises, claiming that the company failed to pay overdue and outstanding duties in the amount of US$190,800 including the 6 percent interest.
Bility admitted to the allegation and made a stipulation on how he would pay the money in 2012.