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29.08.2005 Crime & Punishment

Taxmen granted 500 million cedi bail

GNA

Accra, Aug. 29, GNA - Two taxmen from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Custom, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), who allegedly extorted 300 million cedis from TV3 Network Limited were on Monday granted a 500-million cedi bail with two sureties each. Joseph Adjei, Chief Inspector, IRS and Joseph Dontoh Bilson, Collector of Taxes, CEPS, pleaded not guilty to three counts of conspiracy to commit crime and extortion. They will reappear on October 4.

Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) K.K. Amoah told the court that the accused persons worked at the Large Taxpayers Unit of the Revenue Agencies Board.

CSP Amoah said in March this year Adjei and Bilson were assigned to conduct routine tax audit at TV3 Network Limited involving examination of documents and financial statements to ascertain whether appropriate taxes covering 1997 to 2003 were paid. He stated that at the end of the exercise, the accused persons submitted a report showing that TV3 owed various taxes amounting to 12.156 billion cedis. The tax liability was made to reflect 8.81 billion cedis, which was again reduced to 4.61 billion cedis without any tangible explanation.

The Prosecutor said an official of TV3 had disclosed that the accused persons had demanded 500 million cedis from the Management of the Company in order to reduce the Company's tax liability. According to him, the Police were also informed that on August 2, Adjei and Bilson collected 100 million cedis out of the amount agreed upon by the parties. The parties further agreed to meet at a Mobil Filling Station for the payment of the remaining amount.

The Prosecutor said the Police was hinted and, therefore, laid ambush near the filling station where they were arrested, after collecting the money and placing it in the car boot of Bilson. 29 Aug. 05

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