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29.04.2008 Business & Finance

The ¢28billion tax liabilityIRS moves into action

By Charles Takyi-Boadu - Ghanaian Chronicle

Barely a week after The Chronicle exposed Golden Gate Services almost ¢29billion tax liability, the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Major Daniel Ablorh-Quarcoo (Rtd) has indicated his outfits would do whatever is possible within its constitutional mandate to recoup the monies involved to the state.

In an interview with this paper, he ruled out the possibility of any underhand dealings, which has the tendency of influencing the IRS' decision to collect the monies involved. He has thus given an assurance of the preparedness of his outfit to see to the collection of Golden Gate's tax liability.

Asked about the state of the company's tax liability, the Revenue Commissioner said, “It is there, they are going to pay, they have made some initial payments and we expect that they will complete their payment as time goes on.”

Under the current circumstance, he said the IRS would ensure that the company makes sufficient arrangement to pay its tax liability, stressing, “We are not interested in selling off the assets of the company to meet the tax liability but in making sure that the company survives to earn more income to pay its taxes.”

“If we have any reason to believe that they are being recalcitrant and not going to pay their taxes, then we move to the next step”, he said. Though the company have objected to its final report, the IRS Commissioner noted that they have not come to dispute the findings of the report and for that matter if it failed to disprove the figures involved, the company would have no option but to settle the liability that has been established.

Meanwhile, a special aide to the President, Mr. Kwame Boaten appears not to be forthcoming with information on his involvement in the activities and operations of Golden Gate Services Limited, the stevedoring whose tax liability to the state hovers around ¢29billion.

Mr. Boaten, who happens to be a Butler at the President's residence, has refused to answer probing questions about his involvement in the said company.

Days after The Chronicle published a story about the company's inability to settle its indebtedness to the state, names have started popping up about those behind the Golden Gate Services.

Although Mr. Boaten is not part of the day-to-day running of the company, the paper's investigations have revealed that he wields a lot of influence in the company by virtue of his position as an aide to the President.

The fact that he also has certain percent of stake in Golden Gate Services, Mr. Boaten's position at the President's residence prevents him from direct involvement in the activities and operations of the company.

He thus prefers to be in the background and get things done the way he wants.

The man has, however, refused to answer probing questions on his involvement in the company he draws allowances from at the end of each passing month.

In answer to the question of what position he occupied in Golden Gate Services, Mr. Boaten told this reporter that he does not hold any position in the company.

Pressed further to know whether he was a shareholder or one of the Director's of the company, Mr. Boaten confirmed that he was both a shareholder and Director of the company.

He would also not disclose what percentage of stake or shares he has in the company.

Further investigations by the paper have revealed that Mr. Boaten has over 18 percent shares in Golden Gate and thus uses his influence to protect the interest of the company by virtue of his position as an aide to the President.

The Minister for Ports, Habour's and Railways, Professor Christopher Ameyaw Akumfi who has cultivated a habit for not answering probing questions about issues related to his Ministry and its stakeholders have refused to comment on the raging controversy.

Though he initially gave assurances of his willingness to speak to the issue when contacted by this reporter on two separate occasions, the Minister refused to answer calls on the scheduled day of the interview.

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