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04.10.2005 Crime & Punishment

Taxmen facing extortion charges to reappear on October 27

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Accra, Oct. 4, GNA - A Circuit Court in Accra on Tuesday adjourned to October 27, the case in which two taxmen from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) are accused of extorting 300 million cedis from TV3 Network Limited. The Court was told that the docket was receiving attention at the Attorney - General's Department.

Joseph Adjei, Chief Inspector, IRS and Joseph Dontoh Bilson, Collector of Taxes, CEPS, have pleaded not guilty to three counts of conspiracy to commit crime and extortion.

The Court presided over by Mr Emmanuel Ankamah admitted them to a 500-million cedi bail with two sureties each.

The facts as presented by Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) K. K. Amoah are that the accused persons worked at the Large Taxpayers Unit of the Revenue Agencies Board.

Mr Amoah said in March this year, Adjei and Bilson were assigned to conduct routine tax audit at TV3 Network Ltd, which involved examination of documents and financial statements to ascertain whether the Company paid appropriate taxes covering the period 1997 to 2003. He stated that at the end of the exercise, the accused 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 500 million cedis 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 were hinted and, therefore, laid ambush near the filling station where Adjei and Bilson were arrested after they had collected the money and put it in the boot of Bilson's car.

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