Africa-Press – Liberia. The US$3.3 million petroleum products case involving businessman Cllr. George Kailondo and the Guarantee Trust Bank (GT-Bank) has taken a different twist, with GT-Bank accusing Kailondo of filing a fraudulent tax clearance with a monetary value of US$7,000.
Kailondo had claimed that the US$7,000 was paid against his property (storey building) situated in the oldest part of Congo adjacent to the Ministerial Complex, a property he valued at US$2.5 million.
The property is being used by Kailondo as a surety bond against the bank’s attachment bond placed on Kailondo’s property by the Debt Court for Montserrado County, pending the outcome of the Action of Debt by Attachment lawsuit, in which the bank is claiming over US$1.2 million from Kailondo.
However, the bank, through its lawyer, Jonathan T. Massaquoi, said the tax clearance is a subject for dismissal on the ground that it was fraudulently and criminally procured from the ‘World Trade Center’, in Gurley Street, in Monrovia.
Massaquoi further argued the bogus tax instrument bearing tax identification number 500439064 reportedly belongs to a different tax payer other than Kailondo, which is an element of crime.
“The tax payment receipt of the US$7,000 and dated April 27, is a product of fraud because Kailondo did not pay a dime into government revenue, for which the bogus tax clearance cannot be sustained by the court,” Massaquoi claimed
According to Massaquoi, if the US$7,000 was paid into government revenue, which is not the case, the issue of the tax clearance is practically impossible because the surety did not reference proof of a tax bill, nor did the surety clear out the balance tax amount of US$37,500 to warrant the issuance of the tax clearance.
“The surety has woefully failed to show any proof of an appraisal report by an architectural firm, in order to determine the value of the real property, nor did the surety provide a sufficient description of the real property as contained in the affidavit of surety, to make it an easy exercise to find the real property, “he noted.
The punishments for lying to tax officials can be significant, ranging from fines to criminal fraud charges.
Meanwhile, the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) has begun an internal investigation of several of its employees as to how Kailondo received the tax clearance for US$7,000.
Although Kailondo claimed that his property value was US$2.5 million, the receipt was issued by the Small Tax Division of the LRA.
Under the revenue law, property above US$1 million must have tax clearance from the Large or Medium Tax Division, but Kailondo’s tax clearance was issued by the Small Tax Division, which is the subject of the investigation.
The case grew when the GT-Bank accused Kailondo of conniving with ACE Global, the storage company at the FreePort of Monrovia, to dupe the bank of US$791,458.21, in the sale of petroleum products that were under the custody of the GT-Bank, and the insurance company posted the US$1,231,521.01 on Kailondo’s properties.
According to the suit, Kailondo entered into a collateral management agreement with the bank on September 29, 2017, for a letter of credit to facilitate the shipping of his petroleum products to Sweden and also entered into an agreement with ACE Global to monitor the petroleum movement from storage to the market.
The suit claimed that ACE without the bank’s knowledge, conspired with Kailondo and secretly took away the petroleum products subject to the agreement without any payment.
“When the bank discovered ACE Global and Kailondo’s dubious acts, Kailondo offered to make the full payment of US$791,458.21,” the suit claimed. “Defendant Kailondo’s offer was accepted in the utmost good faith to pay the full amount of ACE Global’s financial obligation, that is, terms of payment were drawn out in the Novation Agreement payable in twenty-four (24) consecutive monthly installments of the amount of US$32,977.45 commencing from November 30, 2017, to October 30, 2019.”