Krystal Hotel Faces US$8m Trial
The Tax Court at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia has rejected a bill of information filed by the Management of the Krystal Ocean View Hotel, and insisted on prosecuting the defendant for a tax liability of US$8,073,061.23, including interest accrued and penalties unpaid to the Government of Liberia.
Tax Court Judge Eva Mappy Morgan ruled here Thursday that defense counsels representing the Krystal Hotel situated in Mamba Point failed to show the contrary and other ruling dated January 24, 2012 that says the court cannot repudiate (retract) itself, ordering that the matter be proceeded with.
Prosecutors had filed an action against the management of the hotel for its alleged indebtedness to government a sum of US$514,912.63 unpaid tax for the fiscal periods 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, respectively. Prosecutors said the hotel failed to properly file and pay 7 percent GST (Goods and Services Tax), 2 percent Presumptive Tax along with withholding Taxes to government.
But following an audit requested for by Krystal Hotel to establish whether or not it actually owed the amount as initially spelt out by prosecutors, the Finance Ministry reflected in its June 22, 2011 audit report that it discovered the hotel was liable for the amount of US$8,073,061.23 instead of the US$514,912.91 earlier claimed by the state.
As a result of the new discovery by the ministry, prosecutors pleaded for the court to hold the defendants liable for US$8 million. But lawyers representing the hotel claimed in their bill of information that on January 24, 2012, Judge Morgan refused prosecution’s plea to augment the amount from US$514,912.91 to US$8,073,061.23.
They argued that Judge Morgan in advertently substituted some minutes of a different content to the minutes of January 24, 2012, which allegedly ruled on the US$514,912.91 and disallowed the prosecutors from augmenting the amount to US$8 million.
Judge Morgan however denied the bill in her ruling Thursday. Prosecutors subsequently requested the court for continuance for a period of a week to enable them obtain witnesses to proceed with the case.