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02.04.2004 Business & Finance

Vaswanis Tax Scandal

By Chronicle

The Stallion Industries & Investment Ltd (SIIL) has held a marathon caucus management meeting following The Chronicle's publication about tax evasion by the company last Monday. The paper's sources monitoring the meeting said it was an all-Indian affair, deliberately arranged to exclude the Ghanaian staff and intended to map out a strategy to douse the effect of the story.

Arun Paswani, Managing Director of Honda Place Ghana Ltd, local representative of the Vaswani Brothers, owners of SIL, who was reported indisposed, managed to attend the meeting. The sources said the management had cautioned the company's wholesale customers not to entertain certain people when they were approached on the issues raised in the story.

Meanwhile The Chronicle is comparing notes and researching other suspected unhealthy business practices that have characterized the operations of the Vaswanis in Ghana.

The searchlight is on an alleged under declaration of the quality of goods imported by the company through which it is able to outwit customs officials and deprive the country of the appropriate duty. For instance imported perfume rice is allegedly brought into the country in the company's Freedom brand sacks as ordinary rice, which attracts a lower tax.

The rice is then repackaged into the perfume sacks. Investigations revealed that in order to swerve tax officials SIIL keeps two separate delivery notes for its operation – one for internal auditing purposes and the other for underhand deals. But Mr. Benedictor Serra, General Manager SILL, has flatly denied any wrongdoing by the company.

“Everything about our tax is perfect, the tax officials from VAT and customs have been here on a number of occasions to check our tax and we were cleared of any wrong doing,” he told this reporter. He said the company did not import perfume rice in ordinary sacks and repackage them locally.

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