LRA Refutes Unfair Dismissals Claim

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The former director for Large Tax Division, Eric Nagbe, has alleged during a one-day Tax Workshop, that there have been unfair dismissals at the division, but LRA Commissioner of Domestic Tax, Darlingston Y. Talery has disagreed, claiming that dismissed employees violated the laws and norms of the LRA

The workshop which was intended to bridge the gap of understanding between tax payers, tax practitioners and tax authorities last Friday, turned sour when Mr. Nagbe claimed that the “entity was engaging in unfair dismissals.”

Mr. Nagbe’s allegation came after he seized the microphone in front of the audience, many of whom were foreign and local business executives and senior staff of the LRA, citing that the “LRA has created unfair dismissal practices and LRA authorities are not following proper procedures to dismiss employees.”

He did not mention the number of affected employees but said he got that information from dismissed and current employees of the LRA.

The tax meeting, held in the conference room of the Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC), was organized and facilitated by the Liberian Institute of Tax Practitioners (LITP), a non- governmental organization.

Nagbe took over the microphone after a discussion by the LITP president, Theo D. Joseph, on the topic: ‘rights, duties, and obligations of the tax payers, tax authorities and tax practitioners.’

“These are the reasons employees of the LRA are afraid to take responsibilities because their colleagues are being sacked here and there. They are afraid too to get caught. Not that they are doing the wrong thing but they are afraid of dismissal,” Nagbe further alleged.

He did not say which responsibilities the staffs were afraid to take.

Dramatically, after Nagbe’s statement, Mr. Trokon Tarr, LRA communications director, who served as the master of ceremony (MC), turned the microphone over to one of his bosses, Darlingston Y. Talery, Commissioner of Domestic Tax, urging him “to address the concerns,” while the audience waited attentively.

In his rebuttal, Talery admitted that LRA staff had been sacked, but claimed it was done under due process governing the LRA.

“Let me address the concerns regarding the firing of some staff members at the LRA. The institution is not in the business of firing its staff members but those staff members have been sacked due to behaviors unbecoming of their status at the LRA,” he said.

He added “The top management of the LRA is not into witch-hunting. Let me make it categorically clear that we are not witch-hunting anybody.”

Further in his presentation, before the claims and counter claims, Joseph reminded the gathering especially tax payers that they should not pay taxes that are more than what is provided under the Tax Code.

“Nobody is under obligation to pay more than what the tax code says. If you are made to pay more than what the law says, it is to tax auditors or tax authorities or to the Board of Tax Appeal,” adding “If the Board fails to take your complaint to the Tax Court then you have to proceed to the Supreme Court.

“Don’t let anybody make you to pay more taxes than what the law demands. You are only liable to pay what the law says and nothing more.”

Explaining about the importance of tax payment, the LITP president described it as a “civil duty.”

“Tax payment is a civil duty; we have to pay it so that the government can provide us with basic goods and services. If we don’t pay our taxes government will not function,” he concluded.

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