Since 2014, the government is yet to prosecute a single business institution accused of tax evasion, leaving prosecutors and Judge Mozart Chesson of the Tax Court at the Temple of Justice to engage in a blame-game, a judicial source hinted to the Daily Observer.
According to the source, the failure to bring tax evaders to book has denied government from collecting millions of United States dollars.
However, in a swift clarification, the clerk of the Tax Court, Obed M. McCarthy admitted that prosecution for over two court terms, (each term lasts four months), refused to bring tax evasion cases before Judge Chesson due to the failure of government lawyers to follow simple, fundamental procedures of law.
“Their negligence is causing government to not prosecute those it accused of evading taxes and is responsible for people not putting money into government’s revenue,” McCarthy further alleged.
“It is very serious because our court is not hearing cases anymore and it is a specialized court responsible to deal only with tax related cases,” he charged. “The only thing is that the prosecutor has been complaining about Judge Chesson to the Supreme Court, and he has won all of the cases that have appeared before the High Court.”
He quoted Judge Chesson as saying, “Under the law, prosecution can’t bring tax evasion cases directly to the court, they are to first take the matter to the Board of Tax Appeal (BOTA) before taking it to court.”
“But, they don’t want to follow that simple procedure, and if the judge tries to educate the alleged tax evader about the procedure they get annoyed and walk out of the case,” the court clerk added. “They have chosen not to bring cases here again.”
Reacting to the clerk’s allegation, a government lawyer, who pleaded anonymity, denied that they were intentionally delaying hearing tax cases, instead pointing at Judge Chesson as the one prolonging the hearing of tax cases and as a result denying government from collecting lawful taxes.
“That’s why we’ve not been able to bring tax cases before Judge Chesson because his procedure of handling tax cases shows that he is not well schooled in that area, unlike his predecessor Judge Eva Morgan-Mappy under whose jurisdiction government was able to raise thousands of United States dollars,” the senior lawyer further alleged.