Front view of Krystal Ocean view Hotel in Monrovia
By George J. Borteh
The legal battle involving the Government of Liberia and the management of Krystal Ocean View Hotel is at its peak with witnessing revealing what legal minds say are determining testimonies that could either weigh the case in favor of the government or the hotel management.
Testifying in open court last week at the Tax Court, the second witness produced by the Government alleged that since 2003, the defendant (Krystal Hotel) has failed to file any income tax returns.
“It will amaze you to know that since the business (Krystal Ocean View Hotel) was established since 2003, there has not been any filing of income tax returns by the management of said business establishment,” the State witness Nagba testified.
Taking the witness stand on October 24, 2012, the GOL’s second witness who also served as the Audit Director of the Large Tax Payer Division of the Ministry of Finance told the court during auditing process at the Krystal Ocean View Hotel, auditors realized that the management there was improperly keeping adequate records.
“There were sales made in some of the months in each of the audit years that were not recorded in the ledgers,” he said and further added that auditors also realized similar thing with the expenditure.
Witness Nagba said among other things that after the conduct of the audit, the exercise came up with as an ‘Audit Assessment Bill’ of US$1,740,852.00 as Tax due excluding penalties and interest which when added will amount to US$8, 073,000.00.
He testified further that the management of Krystal Ocean View Hotel on the issue of the GST indicated that most of its customers were United Nations personnel and other tax exempt individuals and businesses, but noted that such claim can only be justified by Tax Exempt documentation and evidence that indeed such transaction did occur between Krystal Ocean View Hotel and the claimed customers.
A third witness also produced by the state, for his part, buttressed Nagab’s testimony that they reconstructed the income statement because there were no financial statements, no tax returns from 2003 to 2010.
“So, since we were limited by the statute of limitation and there were no proper documents to go backward substantially, we limited ourselves to 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010,” witness Al Dennis told the court.
The production f more witnesses both by the Government of Liberia and the Krystal Ocean View Hotel continues this week.