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B5 Plus Denies Evading Tax   
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Mukesh Thakwani
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B5 Plus Limited, a Tema-based company engaged in the manufacture, import and export of steel, says it is ready to cooperate with any institution of government to prove that the company did not evade tax as alleged by the Presidential Task Force.

The Chief Executive Officer of B5 Plus Limited, Mr. Mukesh Thakwani, reacting to reports two weeks ago by the Presidential Task Force that the company was among more than 280 private and public companies evading the payment of taxes amounting to $367 million, challenged the Task Force to prove the allegation.

“It is never true that we have evaded tax to the tune of $415,519,729. We are very truthful in our dealing with tax agencies,” he said.
The Presidential Task Force says it uncovered the alleged tax fraud perpetrated in bonded warehouses in Accra between 2005 and 2012.
Mr. Thakwani noted that contrary to the reports that the company had taken goods out of the warehouse without paying duties on them, records available indicated that duties were paid on all the goods that were taken out.

He said the nature of their business was such that some goods moved faster than others, making it possible for some goods imported this year to be cleared while others imported last year or last two years to remain at the warehouse .

“Due to this if one does not examine the records carefully he will think that the old goods and their corresponding duties have not been accounted for.”

Mr. Thatwani, therefore, wondered how the task force came to their conclusions when in reality during their visit to the company they were provided with all documents.

He said: “We answered the few queries raised and showed proof that we had paid the duties on them.” He said prior to the Task Force’s visit eight agencies had been to the company this year to audit the company’s accounts.

When contacted, chief collector in-charge of warehouses in Tema, Mark Y. Tchorly, denied knowledge of any incidence of fraud, adding that “nobody has come to me to verify about the warehouses and documents covering them”.

Mr. Tchorly said: “I only read in the dailies that some companies have evaded tax but as far we are concerned they still have their goods located in their respective warehouses”.

He said his study in the data systems of Customs gave him an update that the goods had not been cleared. Mr. Tchorly said follow up visits led to the discovery of the goods at places where the systems indicated “which only means revenue had been locked up and not evaded”.

He affirmed that some of the companies however, owed but could not be described as defrauding the state because they were paying the amounts involved to the bank.

Mr. Tchorly noted that even before the task force came out with the alleged fraud discovery, the Ghana Revenue Authority had written to those companies to clear old stock in their warehouses before clearing the new imports to avoid discrepancies that could lead to suspicion.

Meanwhile, B5 Plus Limited has received an international award for quality and service from the Global Trade Leaders Club in Paris.
It was among 42 participating companies from 38 countries that were awarded.
Source: Peacefmonline.com

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